Marker Assisted Backcrossing

Using Marker-Assisted Backcrossing (MAB) can significantly reduce the number of generations needed to arrive at the desired population compared to conventional backcrossing.  Markers allow breeders to reliably identify the individuals that have the highest levels of recurrent parent genome.

For example, you can introgress a desired trait into a population and backcross the offspring with the recurrent parent.  The ultimate goal is to have the highest possible percentage of the recurrent parent genome with the desired trait present.  Using conventional breeding, you would select the offspring that are phenotypically closest to the recurrent parent – a difficult and laborious task, with unreliable results because environmental effects, among others, may mask the true genotype of the individual.

Using markers located throughout the genome of the recurrent parent, the offspring with the highest percentage of recurrent parent genes can be identified quickly and accurately, meaning that within just a few generations, individuals with 95% or more of the recurrent parent genome can be identified, a level that would be nearly impossible to reach with conventional breeding.

You can read about how we used marker-assisted backcrossing to increase the yield of popcorn here.

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