Prediction of F1 hybrid performance in Winter Oilseed Rape

Lead Research Organisation: Earlham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED

Abstract

We aim to develop a methodology to identify sequence-based markers that are predictive of crop performance and that can be used to make crop breeding faster and more efficient. As an exemplar, we have chosen hybrid oilseed rape. Hybrid plants (i.e. those derived by crossing two inbred parent lines) often outperform their parents, a phenomenon known as hybrid viogour or heterosis. This provides opportunities for improvement of productivity and environmental sustainability. To permit efficient breeding and realize this potential, molecular markers predictive of hybrid performance are required. Conventional approaches have been unsuccessful as the density of markers available has been far too low to find such associations. To overcome this, high throughput sequencing will be used to simultaneously identify variation in gene sequences and quantify gene expression in the parents of a panel of ~150 hybrids for which performance is known or will be determined in the initial phase of the project. Using a combination of 3 approaches, correlations between sequence-based variation and performance for a range of traits will be identified. Hybrids with new combinations of markers predicted to give enhanced performance will be developed and the performance validated by on-farm trialling.

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