Genetic and Economic Analysis of a Targeted Marker-assisted Wheat Breeding Strategy
The advent of molecular markers as a tool to aid selection has provided plant breeders with the opportunity to rapidly deliver superior genetic solutions to problems in agricultural production systems. However, a major constraint to the implementation of marker-assisted selection (MAS) in pragmatic breeding programs in the past has been the perceived high relative cost of MAS compared to conventional phenotypic selection. In this paper, computer simulation was used to design a genetically effective and economically efficient marker-assisted breeding strategy aimed at a specific outcome. Under investigation was a strategy involving the integration of both restricted backcrossing and doubled haploid (DH) technology. The point at which molecular markers are applied in a selection strategy can be critical to the effectiveness and cost efficiency of that strategy. The application of molecular markers was considered at three phases in the strategy: allele enrichment in the BC1F1 population, gene selection at the haploid stage and the selection for recurrent parent background of DHs prior to field testing. Overall, incorporating MAS at all three stages was the most effective, in terms of delivering a high frequency of desired outcomes and at combining the selected favourable rust resistance, end use quality and grain yield alleles. However, when costs were included in the model the combination of MAS at the BC1F1 and haploid stage was identified as the optimal strategy. A detailed economic analysis showed that incorporation of marker selection at these two stages not only increased genetic gain over the phenotypic alternative but actually reduced the over all cost by 40%.
KeywordsEconomics Marker-assisted selection Plant breeding Simulation Triticum aestivum
Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd
High molecular weight
Target population of environments
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