How can I optimize my breeding scheme?

The basic science underlying the process of genetic improvement in crops is now well-understood, if not widely applied. EiB applies these quantitative principles to develop practical guides to help breeders to optimize their programs.

The current set and new manuals to be published in the future can be found at:

The goal of breeding scheme optimization is to be able to effectively deliver new varieties needed by farmers, where the breeding goals are well documented in a product profile and resources have to be allocated to pipelines to deliver products that match the description as rapidly as possible.

As a first step, EiB recommends that targets (demand) should be well defined, then breeding pipelines and schemes should be designed to match the demand. The breeding schemes need to be well-documented as a process, in order to identify parts of the process that should be adapted or where optimizations can be made. 

Breeding as an industrial process

The first manual discusses breeding scheme documentation in the context of germplasm and trait introgression strategies, and forms the first of a series of manuals that will touch on guidelines for the tasks and decisions to be optimized.

The second manual covers how to set valid performance indicators for different levels of the breeding process, with genetic gain as a high-level indicator being used as an example.

The third manual provides a best-practice definition of heritability and outlines the benefits and drawbacks of different calculation methods of this key performance indicator used for quantitative optimization.

For any questions or suggestions regarding this manual, please contact Eduardo Covarrubias-Pazaran, EiB Optimizing Breeding Schemes lead: