UK: Implementing genome wide selection approaches in berries

The aim of this studentship is to develop and test genomic selection models for fruit crop species, using the octoploid strawberry as a model fruit crop system and also to develop cheap and reliable SNP molecular markers across the strawberry genome for deploying in breeding and genetics work across multiple fruit and vegetable crops.

Genomic selection is one of the most advanced methods of plant breeding and uses information from a densely phenotyped tranining population along with marker information to predict the genome-wide contribution of genetic variants to a panel of agronomically important traits. Crucially it is a method that works extremely well with highly quantitative traits (which most traits in strawberry are). This method allows the prediction of plant performance using only genetic data, allowing selection to be made at the early seedling stage, rather than in the field.

As part of CP094, a PhD studentship that finished in October 2015, a population was phenotyped over the course of three years for a number of plant architecture, fruit quality and disease resistance traits and markers were identified controlling these traits. This information is perfect for training genomic selection models. Using this data, this studentship would test a range of genomic selection models for their efficacy at predicting plant performance and disease resistance traits. Using the SNP data from the Affymetrix SNP array and the forthcoming strawberry genome, the student will also develop reliable SNP markers for screening on the strawberry germplasm, to facilitate the genomic selection process.

Source: AHDB Horticulture

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