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Hybrid maize breeding with doubled haploids: I. One-stage versus two-stage selection for testcross performance

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Optimum allocation of resources is of fundamental importance for the efficiency of breeding programs. The objectives of our study were to (1) determine the optimum allocation for the number of lines and test locations in hybrid maize breeding with doubled haploids (DHs) regarding two optimization criteria, the selection gain ΔG k and the probability P k of identifying superior genotypes, (2) compare both optimization criteria including their standard deviations (SDs), and (3) investigate the influence of production costs of DHs on the optimum allocation. For different budgets, number of finally selected lines, ratios of variance components, and production costs of DHs, the optimum allocation of test resources under one- and two-stage selection for testcross performance with a given tester was determined by using Monte Carlo simulations. In one-stage selection, lines are tested in field trials in a single year. In two-stage selection, optimum allocation of resources involves evaluation of (1) a large number of lines in a small number of test locations in the first year and (2) a small number of the selected superior lines in a large number of test locations in the second year, thereby maximizing both optimization criteria. Furthermore, to have a realistic chance of identifying a superior genotype, the probability P k of identifying superior genotypes should be greater than 75%. For budgets between 200 and 5,000 field plot equivalents, P k > 75% was reached only for genotypes belonging to the best 5% of the population. As the optimum allocation for P k (5%) was similar to that for ΔG k , the choice of the optimization criterion was not crucial. The production costs of DHs had only a minor effect on the optimum number of locations and on values of the optimization criteria.

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This research was supported by funds from DFG, Grant No 1070/1, International Research Training Group “Sustainable Resource Use in North China” to C. F. H. Longin. The authors appreciate the editorial work of Dr. J. Muminović whose suggestions considerably improved the style of the manuscript. In addition, the authors thank Dr. F. Laidig, Bundessortenamt Hannover, Germany, and Dr. G. Seitz, AgReliant Genetics, Westfield, IN, USA for their valuable suggestions. We greatly appreciate the helpful comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Albrecht E. Melchinger.

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C. Friedrich H. Longin and H. Friedrich Utz contributed equally to this work.

Communicated by H. Becker

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Longin, C.F.H., Utz, H.F., Reif, J.C. et al. Hybrid maize breeding with doubled haploids: I. One-stage versus two-stage selection for testcross performance. Theor Appl Genet 112, 903–912 (2006).

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  • Optimum allocation
  • Selection gain
  • Probability
  • Superior genotype
  • Monte Carlo simulation