The impact of recombination on short-term selection gain in plant breeding experiments

McClosky, B. and Tanksley, S.D. (2013) The impact of recombination on short-term selection gain in plant breeding experiments. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. pp. 1-14.

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Recombination is a requirement for response to selection, but researchers still debate whether increasing recombination beyond normal levels will result in significant gains in short-term selection. We tested this hypothesis, in the context of plant breeding, through a series of simulation experiments comparing short-term selection response (≤20 cycles) between populations with normal levels of recombination and similar populations with unconstrained recombination (i.e., free recombination). We considered additive and epistatic models and examined a wide range of values for key design variables: selection cycles, QTL number, heritability, linkage phase, selection intensity and population size. With few exceptions, going from normal to unconstrained levels of recombination produced only modest gains in response to selection (≈11 % on average). We then asked how breeders might capture some of this theoretical gain by increasing recombination through either (1) extra rounds of mating or (2) selection of highly recombinant individuals via use of molecular markers/maps. All methods tested captured less than half of the potential gain, but our analysis indicates that the most effective method is to select for increased recombination and the trait simultaneously. This recommendation is based on evidence of a favorable interaction between trait selection and the impact of recombination on selection gains. Finally, we examined the relative contributions of the two components of meiotic recombination, chromosome assortment and crossing over, to short-term selection gain. Depending primarily on the presence of trait selection pressure, chromosome assortment alone accounted for 40–75 % of gain in response to short-term selection.

Item Type: Article
Author Affiliation: Nature Source Genetics, 33 Thornwood Drive, Suite 300, Ithaca, NY, 14850, USA
Subjects: Crop Improvement > Plant Breeding
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2013 09:13
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 09:13
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