Molecular breeding

Molecular breeding (MB) is the generic term used to describe several modern breeding strategies, such as marker-assisted selection (MAS), marker-assisted backcrossing (MABC), marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genome wide selection (GWS).

MB allows stacking favourable alleles, or genomic regions, of target traits in desired genetic background thanks to the use of polymorphic markers. This increases genetic gain per crop cycle and reduces the number of selection cycles, hastening the delivery of improved crop varieties to farmers.

A GCP ex-ante evaluation of rice-breeding projects in Asia and cassava-breeding projects in Africa found that the use of markers shortened development time for new improved cultivars by several years and, despite higher start-up costs, brought savings and higher value over time.  For details, click on Ex-ante impact analysis of marker-assisted selection technologies supported by the Generation Challenge Programme.

For more information and assistance with molecular breeding, contact Mark Sawkins.

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