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Marker-Assisted Selection in Plant Breeding: From Publications to Practice

Yunbi Xu, Jonathan H. Crouch
Crop science 2008 v.48 no.2 pp. 391-407
crops, plant breeding, artificial selection, selection criteria, marker-assisted selection, genetic markers, genes, quantitative trait loci, chromosome mapping, genotype, genotype-environment interaction, epistasis, phenotype
The volume of publications on the development and to a lesser extent the application of molecular markers in plant breeding has increased dramatically during the last decade. However, most of the publications result from investments from donors with a strategic science quality or biotech advocacy mandate leading to insufficient emphasis on applied value in plant breeding. Converting promising publications into practical applications requires the resolution of many logistical and genetical constraints that are rarely addressed in journal publications. This results in a high proportion of published markers failing at one or more of the translation steps from research arena to application domain. The rate of success is likely to increase due to developments in gene-based marker development, more efficient quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping procedures, and lower cost genotyping systems. However, some fundamental issues remain to be resolved, particularly regarding complex traits, before marker-assisted selection realizes its full potential in public sector breeding programs. These include the development of high throughput precision phenotyping systems for QTL mapping, improved understanding of genotype by environment interaction and epistasis, and development of publicly available computational tools tailored to the needs of molecular breeding programs.