Breakthroughs In Genomic Selection Precision Phenotyping

Feb 28, 2014

To accelerate the continual development of new and improved wheat varieties, novel approaches are needed to extend conventional selection methods, according to Jesse Poland, assistant professor of agronomy at Kansas State University and director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics.    

Poland will be provide insights into “Genomic Selection and Precision Phenotyping” at the upcoming Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security, Ciudad Obregón, Mexico on March 25-28. The Borlaug Summit is organized by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) and the Patronato for Research and Agricultural Experimentation of the State of Sonora (PIEAES).  

“Revolutions in genomics-assisted breeding, complimented by advancements in precision, high-throughput phenotyping will enable 21st century plant breeding on the scale needed to increase crop production and global food security despite less favorable climates and land degradation,” Poland wrote in his presentation abstract.

“With advancements in DNA sequencing technology, it has become less expensive to determine the genotype of new breeding lines than to evaluate those same lines in yield trials,” Poland continued. In this context, whole-genome prediction models (i.e. genomic selection) can be applied to more efficiently utilize resources while shortening the breeding cycle. At the same time, Poland explains that genomic selection cannot completely replace phenotypic assessment of new breeding lines. “To match the phenomenal advancements in genomics, novel approaches for precision, high-throughput phenotyping are needed.”

During his presentation at the Borlaug Summit, Poland will explain how working at the intersection of genetics, breeding, engineering, physiology, and computer science will lead to development of novel phenotyping platforms and the implementation of these platforms in plant breeding programs will match and expand the transformative effect of genomics-assisted breeding.

The Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food Security honors the 100th anniversary of the birth and the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug, a legendary CIMMYT scientist who developed high-yielding, semi-dwarf wheat, which is credited with saving more than 1 billion people from starvation. The Summit will look back at Dr. Borlaug’s legacy as the father of the Green Revolution, which sparked key advances in food production. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through an increased food supply. Borlaug’s wheat varieties were grown in Mexico, Turkey, India and Pakistan, boosting harvests in those countries sparking widespread adoption of improved crop varieties and farming practices and avoiding famine in South Asia.

Poland will be one of a number of experts speaking at the Borlaug Summit, which will focus on wheat’s critical role in global food security.

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