Enhancing genetic evaluation and selection for a corn seed company

Enhancing genetic evaluation and selection for a corn seed company

Enhancing genetic evaluation and selection for a corn seed company

Our client is a global agricultural seed company that specialises in the development of improved corn hybrids. With a diverse germplasm collection and extensive breeding programs, they aim to enhance yield, disease resistance, and other important traits in corn varieties. To leverage genetic data effectively and accommodate its future growth, they sought a comprehensive analysis solution. The aim is to incorporate existing genetic data and any future-generated data into integrated analysis models.

Utilising ASReml-R for genetic parameterestimation

To address their needs, our client implemented ASReml-R, a powerful statistical software package designed for genetic evaluation and mixed-effects modelling. ASReml-R was used to analyse the complex data structures of multiple generations andt rials of corn breeding, which included detailed phenotypic and genotypic information.

Why they chose ASReml-R

Accurate genetic parameter estimation: The mixed-effects modelling capabilities of ASReml-R enabled the team to estimate genetic parameters like heritability and genetic correlations with precision. This accuracy is crucial for assessing the potential of different traits for genetic improvement. Unlike other tools that struggle to fit thesecomplex models, ASReml-R excels in providing reliable estimates.

Empowering informed breeding decisions: The estimated breeding values obtained through ASReml-R empowered our client to make more informed decisions regarding parent selection, hybrid combinations, and overall breeding strategies. By understanding the genetic potential of various traits, they could strategically focus on the most promising combinations and therefore increasing the likelihood of developing superiorcorn hybrids.

Handling complex pedigree structures: ASReml's ability to handle intricate pedigree structures was particularly beneficial. Breeding programs often involve complex relationships between individuals, and ASReml-R effortlessly accounted for these complexities. By accurately modelling the genetic relationships within the population, the seed company gained valuable insights into the inheritance patterns of specific traits.

Accounting for environmental factors: ASReml's flexible modelling capabilities allowed our client to account for environmental factors that influence trait expression. By incorporating these factors into their analyses, they could separate genetic and environmental effects accurately. This ability to disentangle the influences of genes and the environment contributed to more precise genetic evaluations.

Tangible benefits - Improved performance and yield potential

ASReml-R enabled our client to achieve several positive outcomes, including

  • Improved breeding strategies: The accurate estimation of genetic parameters helped to identify traits with high heritability, indicating their suitability for selection and improvement. This knowledge guided their breeding strategies, allowing them tofocus on traits that had a substantial impact on the performance of corn hybrids.
  • Enhanced parent selection: With a deeper understanding of genetic correlations and better breeding value estimation, the team could select parents that would likely produce progeny with the desired trait combinations. ASReml's predictions allowed them to manage their breeding population's genetic diversity and its potential, leading to superior long-term parent selection. 
  • Efficient variety development: By leveraging ASReml's analysis capabilities, our client streamlined their breeding efforts. They could identify the most promising hybrid combinations and allocate their resources more efficiently. This optimisation accelerated the development of superior corn varieties and reduced the time and cost associated with traditional breeding analytical methods.

About ASReml-R - Statistical software for breeding

ASReml-R is a comprehensive statistical software package specifically designed for genetic evaluation, mixed-effects modelling, multi-trait and genotype-environment interactions. Its specialised features, combined with expert knowledge, empower plant and animal breeders to perform robust statistical analyses, make informed breeding decisions, optimise yield potential, and develop superior varieties or populations more efficiently. ASReml's ability to handle complex data structures, accounting for pedigree relationships and incorporating environmental and design factors makes it an invaluable tool for any organisation involved in genetic evaluation and selection of outstanding genotypes.

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