UC Riverside-led research could revolutionize hybrid breeding in agriculture
Genomic prediction, a new field of quantitative genetics, is a statistical approach to predicting the value of an economically important trait in a plant, such as yield or disease resistance. The method works if the trait is heritable, as many traits tend to be, and can be performed early in the life cycle of the plant, helping reduce costs.
Shizhong Xu is a professor of genetics at UC Riverside.
Credit: Xu Lab, UC Riverside
Now a research team led by plant geneticists at the University of California, Riverside and Huazhong Agricultural University, China, has used the method to predict the performance of hybrid rice (for example, the yield, growth-rate and disease resistance). The new technology could potentially revolutionize hybrid breeding in agriculture.
The study, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a pilot research project on rice. The technology can be easily extended, however, to other crops such as maize.
"Rice and maize are two main crops that depend on hybrid breeding," said Shizhong Xu, a professor of genetics in the UC Riverside Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, who co-led the research project. "If we can identify many high-performance hybrids in these crops and use these hybrids, we can substantially increase grain production to achieve global food security."
Genomic prediction uses genome-wide markers to predict future individuals or species. These markers are genes or DNA sequences with known locations on a chromosome. Genomic prediction differs from traditional predictions in that it skips the marker-detection step. The method simply uses all markers of the entire genome to predict a trait.
"Classical marker-assisted selection only uses markers that have large effects on the trait," Xu explained. "It ignores all markers with small effects. But many economically important traits are controlled by a large number of genes with small effects. Because the genomic prediction model captures all these small-effect genes, predictability is vastly improved."
Without genomic prediction, breeders must grow all possible crosses in the field to select the best cross (hybrid). For example, for 1000 inbred parents, the total number of crosses would be 499500.
"It is impossible to grow these many crosses in the field," Xu said. "However, with the genomic prediction technology, we can grow only, say, 500 crosses, then predict all the 499500 potential crosses, and select the best crosses based on the predicted values of these hybrids."
Xu noted that genomic prediction is particularly useful for predicting hybrids because hybrid DNA sequences are determined by their inbred parents.
"More cost-saving can be achieved because we do not need to measure the DNA sequences of the hybrids," he said. "Knowing the genotypes of the parents makes it possible to immediately know the genotype of the hybrid. Indeed, there is no need to measure the genotype of the hybrid. It is fully predicted by the model."
When the researchers incorporated "dominance" and "epistasis" into their prediction model, they found that predictability was improved. In genetics, dominance describes the joint action of two different alleles (copies) of a gene. For example, if one copy of a gene has a value of 1 and the other copy has a value of 2, the joint effect of the two alleles may be 4, indicating that the two alleles are not additive. In this case, dominance has occurred. Epistasis refers to any type of gene-gene interaction.
"By incorporating dominance and epistasis, we took into account all available information for prediction," Xu said. "It led to a more accurate prediction of a trait value."
Genomic prediction can be used to predict heritable human diseases. For example, many cancers are heritable and genome prediction can be performed to predict disease risk for a person.
Xu was joined in the research by Qifa Zhang and his student Dan Zhu at Huazhong Agricultural University, China.
Next the research team, led by Xu and Zhang, will design a field experiment to perform hybrid prediction in rice.
The research was funded by a grant to Xu from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a grant to Zhang from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.
Iqbal Pittalwala | Eurek Alert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering