Two-stage selection in tea breeding
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In breeding a clonal crop such as tea, selection is a two-stage process. In the first stage the highest yielding individual seedlings are chosen; these are then propagated and planted in clone trials in the second stage. A high selection intensity at the first stage risks eliminating most of the superior genotypes. The optimal proportion to be selected depends on the correlation between seedling ortet and clone performance. For yield this correlation is often fairly low, and in our trials with tea, selection of the highest yielding 15–25% of seedlings appears optimal. The ortet-clone correlation may be improved by more precise recording of ortet yields; in tea, this can be done by extending the recording period, to reduce the influence of year-to-year and seasonal variation. The relevance of these observations to other clonally propagated crops is discussed.
KeywordsBreeding progress Camellia sinensis Clones Heritability
We thank Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd for permission to publish.
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