Review: Enhancing genetic gain in the era of molecular breeding ($)

Yield is determined by the crop’s genetic potential and the realization of that potential as affected by agronomic practices and environmental factors. Xu et al. address how yields can be improved through enhancing genetic gain, which they define as “the amount of increase in performance that is achieved annually through artificial selection.” Factors that affect genetic gain include the genetic variance of the population (including variance that can be created as well as contributions from wild relatives), heritability, selection intensity  (affected by methods used to assess phenotype and their costs), and cycle time (which can be accelerated through greenhouses and winter nurseries).  This review, recommended reading for students, nicely demonstrates how, “Advances in biological science and technology, which involve genomics, informatics, modeling, communication technologies, satellite imaging, remote sensing, and precision farming and agriculture, have contributed significantly to increasing crop productivity.” J. Exp. Bot. 10.1093/jxb/erx135

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