Biotech Updates

New Gene Metrics Increase Precision of Plant Breeding Technology

May 8, 2019

Scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have developed new gene metrics to determine the accuracy of molecular markers used in marker-assisted selection (MAS).

Breeders have long been using MAS to determine distinct and desirable traits in plants such as disease resistance, grain quality, and flood tolerance. Though this method proved to be effective in accelerating the breeding process, they found that it is still susceptible to inaccuracies.

With this in mind, the team at IRRI developed five standards to thoroughly assess the performance of genetic markers used in MAS. The researchers discovered that markers that fared well on the metrics were significantly reliable, thus increasing the efficiency of the MAS technique. This could boost the confidence of breeders to use the markers in their breeding programs. The metrics can also be used across different marker types and platforms, which will allow scientists to evaluate markers not only for rice but also for other crops.

For more details, read the news article in Rice Today.