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Marker-assisted selection: an approach for precision plant breeding in the twenty-first century
Bertrand C.Y Collard and David J Mackill*
Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, The Philippines
Author for correspondence (d.mackill@cgiar.org)


DNA markers have enormous potential to improve the efficiency and precision of conventional plant breeding via marker-assisted selection (MAS). The large number of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) mapping studies for diverse crops species have provided an abundance of DNA marker–trait associations. In this review, we present an overview of the advantages of MAS and its most widely used applications in plant breeding, providing examples from cereal crops. We also consider reasons why MAS has had only a small impact on plant breeding so far and suggest ways in which the potential of MAS can be realized. Finally, we discuss reasons why the greater adoption of MAS in the future is inevitable, although the extent of its use will depend on available resources, especially for orphan crops, and may be delayed in less-developed countries. Achieving a substantial impact on crop improvement by MAS represents the great challenge for agricultural scientists in the next few decades.

marker-assisted selection plant breeding QTL mapping marker-assisted backcrossing pyramiding early generation selection.

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