, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 305-312
Date: 30 Aug 2006

Molecular markers and doubled haploids in European plant breeding programmes

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The breeding companies and laboratories involved in this article cover a wide range of crops grown in the temperate climate zone: small grain cereals, oilseed crops, forage crops, turf, vegetables and potato. Speed and efficiency are becoming increasingly important in variety breeding and doubled haploids (DH) and genetic markers are important biotechnological tools to accelerate materials to market. Collaborative research between universities, research institutions and breeding companies has resulted in the routine use of DH technology and molecular markers in practical breeding of barley, wheat and rapeseed. DH populations have been established not only for barley, wheat and rapeseed, but for rye, oat and triticale, where DH technology is less developed. A driver here is the value of the crop e.g. although wheat is less responsive to DH production the value of the end product makes the effort worthwhile. Simple and rapid DNA extraction methods used in high-throughput marker assisted selection (MAS) systems are essential for routine use of markers. MAS is used both to monitor the presence of genes of interest and also to monitor the genetic background. DH technology in forage, turf and vegetables is still in progress and the practical use of markers in all crops is limited by access to trait linked markers. Collaboration and technology transfer with universities, research institutions and breeding companies is essential for the improvement of both DH protocols in recalcitrant crops and marker technology in all crops.