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Investigating the efficiency of the single backcrossing breeding strategy through computer simulation

Abstract

A strategy combining single backcrossing with selected bulk breeding has been successfully used in wheat improvement at CIMMYT to introgress rust resistant genes from donor parents to elite adapted cultivars. In this research, the efficiency of this breeding strategy was compared to other crossing and selection strategies through computer simulation. Results indicated this breeding strategy has advantages in retaining or improving the adaptation of the recurrent parents, and at the same time transferring most of the desired donor genes in a wide range of scenarios. Two rounds of backcrossing have advantages when the adaptation of donor parents is much poorer than that of the adapted parents, but the advantage of three rounds of backcrossing over two rounds is minimal. We recommend using the single backcrossing breeding strategy (SBBS) when three conditions are met: (1) multiple genes govern the phenotypic traits to be transferred from donor parents to adapted parents, (2) the donor parents have some favorable genes that may contribute to the improvement of adaptation in the recipient parents, and (3) conventional phenotypic selection is being applied, or individual genotypes cannot be precisely identified. We envisage that all three conditions commonly exist in modern breeding programs, and therefore believe that SBBS could be applied widely. However, we do not exclude the use of repeated backcrossing if the transferred genes can be precisely identified by closely linked molecular markers, and the donor parents have extremely poor adaptation.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Dr. Rodomiro Ortiz for his critical review of the manuscript before submission, two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their constructive suggestions and comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. This research was funded by the National 863 Programs of China (grant No. 2006AA10Z1B1), the HarvestPlus and Generation Challenge Programs of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and Foundation of the Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (082060302-09). Development of the simulation tool QuLine was previously funded by the Grain Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Australia.

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Correspondence to Jiankang Wang.

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Communicated by A. Charcosset.

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Wang, J., Singh, R.P., Braun, HJ. et al. Investigating the efficiency of the single backcrossing breeding strategy through computer simulation. Theor Appl Genet 118, 683–694 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-008-0929-6

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Keywords

  • Agronomic Trait
  • Rust Resistance
  • Genetic Gain
  • Favorable Allele
  • Donor Parent