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The role of physiological understanding in plant breeding; from a breeding perspective

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Jackson, P., Robertson, M., Cooper, M. and Hammer, G. (1996) The role of physiological understanding in plant breeding; from a breeding perspective. Field Crops Research, 49 (1). pp. 11-37. ISSN 0378-4290

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-4290(96)01012-X

Publisher URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037842909601012X

Abstract

The role of physiological understanding in improving the efficiency of breeding programs is examined largely from the perspective of conventional breeding programs. Impact of physiological research to date on breeding programs, and the nature of that research, was assessed from (i) responses to a questionnaire distributed to plant breeders and physiologists, and (ii) a survey of literature abstracts. Ways to better utilise physiological understanding for improving breeding programs are suggested, together with possible constraints to delivering beneficial outcomes. Responses from the questionnaire indicated a general view that the contribution by crop physiology to date has been modest. However, most of those surveyed expected the contribution to be larger in the next 20 years. Some constraints to progress perceived by breeders and physiologists were highlighted. The survey of literature abstracts indicated that from a plant breeding perspective, much physiological research is not progressing further than making suggestions about possible approaches to selection. There was limited evidence in the literature of objective comparison of such suggestions with existing methodology, or of development and application of these within active breeding programs. It is argued in this paper that the development of outputs from physiological research for breeding requires a good understanding of the breeding program(s) being serviced and factors affecting its performance. Simple quantitative genetic models, or at least the ideas they represent, should be considered in conducting physiological research and in envisaging and evaluating outputs. The key steps of a generalised breeding program are outlined, and the potential pathways for physiological understanding to impact on these steps are discussed. Impact on breeding programs may arise through (i) better choice of environments in which to conduct selection trials, (ii) identification of selection criteria and traits for focused introgression programs, and (iii) identifying traits for indirect selection criteria as an adjunct to criteria already used. While many breeders and physiologists apparently recognise that physiological understanding may have a major role in the first area, there appears to be relatively little research activity targeting this issue, and a corresponding bias, arguably unjustified, toward examining traits for indirect selection. Furthermore, research on traits aimed at crop improvement is often deficient because key genetic parameters, such as genetic variation in relevant breeding populations and genetic (as opposed to phenotypic) correlations with yield or other characters of economic importance, are not properly considered in the research. Some areas requiring special attention for successfully interfacing physiology research with breeding are discussed. These include (i) the need to work with relevant genetic populations, (ii) close integration of the physiological research with an active breeding program, and (iii) the dangers of a pre-defined or narrow focus in the physiological research.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:Physiology Breeding Genotype-by-environment interaction Quantitative genetics Indirect selection
Subjects:Science > Botany > Genetics
Plant culture
Plant culture > Seeds. Seed technology
Deposited On:22 Mar 2022 05:37
Last Modified:22 Mar 2022 05:37

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