Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 81, Issue 6, pp 825–832 | Cite as

Expected utility maximization and selection of stable plant cultivars

  • K. M. Eskridge
  • B. E. Johnson


In most plant breeding programs, selection of the best commercially suitable cultivars for a target group of environments is based on information obtained from evaluation trials cultivated in a sample of environments. Information on the performance of cultivars collected in a sample of environments can only be approximate and, consequently, selection of the best cultivar involves choosing among cultivars that respond uncertainly in many environments. The agronomic and/or economic value of a cultivar across environments may be considered the general or overall utility of the cultivar. Data from a sample of environments therefore provides only an estimate of any cultivar's overall utility, with the overall goal of selection among all cultivars being the maximization of the expected utility. Within this frame-work, expected utility maximization, an approach to decision making that has been well developed in the disciplines of economics and statistics, can assist the plant breeder in making such decisions. This research was initiated (1) to determine how expected utility maximization might be used to develop indices that are useful for selecting broadly adapted plant cultivars, and (2) to determine how the breeder's preferences might affect choice of the best cultivar. The data used in this research were from USDA Regional Soybean Tests. The results indicated that expected utility maximization, which explicitly incorporates into the selection rule the plant breeder's preferences regarding stability, can be a useful aid in the selection of stable plant cultivars.

Key words

Selection Utility functions Plant breeding Genotype × environment interaction Yield stability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Eskridge
    • 1
  • B. E. Johnson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiometryUniversity of Nebraska — LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyUniversity of Nebraska — LincolnLincolnUSA

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