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Optimum breeding strategies using genomic selection for hybrid breeding in wheat, maize, rye, barley, rice and triticale


Key message

A breeding strategy with moderate nursery selection followed by genomic selection and one-stage phenotypic selection maximizes annual selection gain for grain yield across a wide range of hybrid breeding scenarios.


Genomic selection (GS) is a promising method for the selection of quantitatively inherited traits but its most effective implementation in routine hybrid breeding schemes requires further research. We compared five breeding strategies and varied their available budget, the costs for doubled haploid (DH) line and hybrid seed production as well as variance components for grain yield in a wide range. In contrast to previous studies, we included a nursery selection for disease resistance just before GS on grain yield. The breeding strategy GSrapid with moderate nursery selection followed by one stage GS and one final stage with phenotypic selection on grain yield had the highest annual selection gain across all strategies, budgets, costs and variance components considered and we, therefore, highly recommend its use in hybrid breeding of cereals. Although selecting on traits not correlated with grain yield in the observation nursery, this selection reduced the selection gain of grain yield, especially in the breeding schemes with GS and for selected fractions smaller than 0.3. Owing to the very high number of test candidates entering breeding strategies with GS, the costs for DH line production had a larger impact on the annual selection gain than the hybrid seed production costs. The optimum allocation of test resources maximizing annual selection gain in classical two-stage phenotypic selection on grain yield and for the recommended breeding strategy GSrapid is finally explored for maize, wheat, rye, barley, rice and triticale.

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This research was conducted with the financial support provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to J. J. Marulanda in the frame of the program “PhD Scholarships for international students”. Model calculations for rice in this paper were supported by National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program: 2014AA10A601) and Shenzhen Peacock Plan. The authors thank Prof. T. Miedaner and Dr. H. P. Maurer to provide valuable information about costs and budget estimates for rye and triticale. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their useful and constructive comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to C. Friedrich H. Longin.

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The authors declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of Germany.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Communicated by H. Iwata.

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Marulanda, J.J., Mi, X., Melchinger, A.E. et al. Optimum breeding strategies using genomic selection for hybrid breeding in wheat, maize, rye, barley, rice and triticale. Theor Appl Genet 129, 1901–1913 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-016-2748-5

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  • Doubled Haploid
  • Cytoplasmic Male Sterility
  • Genomic Selection
  • Doubled Haploid Line
  • General Combine Ability