Biotech Updates

Scientists Use Mix Methods To Cut Breeding Time by One Generation

October 27, 2021

In a recent study, a group of scientists used a combination of techniques to move a plant breeding line forward while reducing the process by one backcross. Their method can help plant breeders cut the breeding process time by one generation.

The scientists showed the potential of genomic background selection by introducing Ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)-induced alleles into oilseed rape lines leading to a fast reduction of background mutation load. They used two parameters to lessen the period of developing an improved elite line while reducing the mutation load. They first used a spring-type oilseed rape line as the recurrent parent which grows faster by three months compared to the winter-type oilseed rape. The single seed descent (SSD) method under highly-controlled growth conditions was used to grow the plant from seeds which were harvested immaturely. These methods were previously known to have worked for other plants like wheat, barley and pigeon pea, and were done to illustrate the potential for further reducing the plant generation cycle by three to four weeks in oilseed rape under greenhouse conditions.

The scientists then applied marker-assisted selection to save repeated cycles of backcrossing by going through a foreground selection for the mutant allele, then going through the background selection for the recurrent parent genome. This resulted in the identification of the first generation backcross plant with a recurrent genome share of 85.7% - the average recipient genome share in a second backcross generation. This shows that one generation of backcrossing can be saved, leading to higher genetic gain. They concluded that using double hybrid populations for marker-assisted background selection is able to reduce the mutation load after random mutagenesis.

Read the full article in Nature.

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