Strengthening Public Breeding Pipelines by Emphasizing Quantitative Genetics Principles and Open Source Data Management

Photo credit: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT.

 

This opinion piece published in Frontiers in Plant Science briefly presents the breeder's equation and highlights the terms that can be manipulated to increase genetic gain per time and per dollar invested. The authors also present some guidelines recommended by the Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Platform to optimize the selection response in a classical breeding scheme to create an aggressive pipeline with high genetic gains. They then discuss how genome-assisted prediction methods (genomic selection, GS) can be used for further optimization across all breeder’s equation terms.

The strategic goals of the CGIAR, which serves small-scale agricultural producers in the developing world, include the increase of nutrition and food security, the reduction of poverty, and the reduction of the “environmental footprint” of agricultural production systems. For each of these goals, progress can be made by breeding new crop varieties with increased productivity, stress resilience, nutritional value, and reduced requirement for fertilizer or agrochemicals.
 
Despite the great success of CGIAR breeding in the last decades, we posit that quantitative genetics principles must be more strongly emphasized in breeding strategies to keep pace with the accelerated demand and with changes in production conditions resulting in a growing demand for food, climate change and newly introduced breeding objectives - such as nutritional quality.

 

Read the full piece at Frontiers in Plant Science.

 

Opinion piece by Giovanny Covarrubias-Pazaran (EiB), Johannes W. R. Martini (CIMMYT), Michael Quinn (EiB) and Gary Atlin (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Contents reflect the information and views of the authors only. EiB and partners are supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Contributors and the Crops to End Hunger initiative, via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GIZ, BMZ, USAID, UK Aid, ACIAR and other partnersPhoto: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT