Accelerate plant breeding using genomic selection and related technologies
World population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. To feed the growing population, farmers must produce 70% more food by 2050; an average increase in production of 44 million metric tons per year is required. To achieve this increase in food production under limited agricultural resources, we need to substantially increase yield potential of crop plants. As a solution for the increment of yield potential of crop plants, genomic selection (GS), a technology for rapid genetic improvement of an organism, has received a lot of attention recently. In GS, the relationship between genome-wide marker genotypes (x) and phenotype (y) is modeled with the function y=f(x). Using this model, we predict the potential of individuals under selection as f(xs) based on their marker genotypes (xs) even without their phenotypic records and select individuals with desirable predicted values. Because with GS we can select individuals without evaluating their phenotypes, an unprecedented breeding system, which is unachievable with conventional selection, can be realized. For instance, even in Japan, we can develop varieties that are adaptable to hostile environments around the world using selection based on the prediction model. In another instance, we can speed-up breeding process largely using GS with a rapid generation advancement technique using an artificial environment. From these reason, theoretical researches of GS and researches for implementation of GS to breeding programs have been conducted in agricultural research institutes over the world.
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