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The area under the function: an index for selecting desirable genotypes


The linear regression approach has been widely used for selecting high-yielding and stable genotypes targeted to several environments. The genotype mean yield and the regression coefficient of a genotype's performance on an index of environmental productivity are the two main stability parameters. Using both can often complicate the breeder's decision when comparing high-yielding, less-stable genotypes with low-yielding, stable genotypes. This study proposes to combine the mean yield and regression coefficient into a unified desirability index (D i). Thus, D i is defined as the area under the linear regression function divided by the difference between the two extreme environmental indexes. D i is equal to the mean of the ith genotype across all environments plus its slope multiplied by the mean of the environmental indexes of the two extreme environments (symmetry). Desirable genotypes are those with a large D i. For symmetric trials the desirability index depends largely on the mean yield of the genotype and for asymmetric trials the slope has an important influence on the desirability index. The use of D i was illustrated by a 20-environments maize yield trial and a 25-environments wheat yield trial. Three maize genotypes out of nine showed values of D i 's that were significantly larger than a hypothetical, stable genotype. These were considered desirable, even though two of them had slopes significantly greater than 1.0. The results obtained from ranking wheat genotypes on mean yield differ from a ranking based on D i .

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Communicated by A. R. Hallauer

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Hernandez, C.M., Crossa, J. & Castillo, A. The area under the function: an index for selecting desirable genotypes. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 87, 409–415 (1993).

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Key words

  • Genotype x environment interaction
  • Adaptation
  • Stability
  • Desirability index