Population Genomics Along With Quantitative Genetics Provides a More Efficient Valorization of Crop Plant Genetic Diversity in Breeding and Pre-breeding Programs
AbstractThe breeding efforts of the twentieth century contributed to large increases in yield but selection may have increased vulnerability to environmental perturbations. In that context, there is a growing demand for methodology to re-introduce useful variation into cultivated germplasm. Such efforts can focus on the introduction of specific traits monitored through diagnostic molecular markers identified by QTL/association mapping or selection signature screening. A combined approach is to
... ncrease the global diversity of a crop without targeting any particular trait.A considerable portion of the genetic diversity is conserved in genebanks. However, benefits of genetic resources (GRs) in terms of favorable alleles have to be weighed against unfavorable traits being introduced along. In order to facilitate utilization of GR, core collections are being identified and progressively characterized at the phenotypic and genomic levels. High-throughput genotyping and sequencing technologies allow to build prediction models that can estimate the genetic value of an entire genotyped collection. In a pre-breeding program, predictions can accelerate recurrent selection using rapid cycles in greenhouses by skipping some phenotyping steps. In a breeding program, reduced phenotyping characterization allows to increase the number of tested parents and crosses (and global genetic variance) for a fixed budget. Finally, the whole cross design can be optimized using progeny variance predictions to maximize short-term genetic gain or long-term genetic gain by constraining a minimum level of diversity in the germplasm. There is also a potential to further increase the accuracy of genomic predictions by taking into account genotype by environment interactions, integrating additional layers of omics and environmental information.Here, we aim to review some relevant concepts in population genomics together with recent advances in quantitative genetics in order to discuss how the combination of both disciplines can facilitate the use of genetic diversity in plant (pre) breeding programs.