Cassava Breeding I: The Value of Breeding Value.
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Breeding cassava relies on several selection stages (single row trial-SRT; preliminary; advanced; and uniform yield trials?UYT). This study uses data from 14 years of evaluations. From more than 20,000 genotypes initially evaluated only 114 reached the last stage. The objective was to assess how the data at SRT could be used to predict the probabilities of genotypes reaching the UYT. Phenotypic data from each genotype at SRT was integrated into the selection index (SIN) used by the cassava breeding program. Average SIN from all the progenies derived from each progenitor was then obtained. Average SIN is an approximation of the breeding value of each progenitor. Data clearly suggested that some genotypes were better progenitors than others (e.g., high number of their progenies reaching the UYT), suggesting important variation in breeding values of progenitors. However, regression of average SIN of each parental genotype on the number of their respective progenies reaching UYT resulted in a negligible coefficient of determination (r2 = 0.05). Breeding value (e.g., average SIN) at SRT was not efficient predicting which genotypes were more likely to reach the UYT stage. Number of families and progenies derived from a given progenitor were more efficient predicting the probabilities of the progeny from a given parent reaching the UYT stage. Large within-family genetic variation tends to mask the true breeding value of each progenitor. The use of partially inbred progenitors (e.g., S1 or S2 genotypes) would reduce the within-family genetic variation thus making the assessment of breeding value more accurate. Moreover, partial inbreeding of progenitors can improve the breeding value of the original (S0) parental material and sharply accelerate genetic gains. For instance, homozygous S1 genotypes for the dominant resistance to cassava mosaic disease (CMD) could be generated and selected. All gametes from these selected S1 genotypes would carry the desirable allele and 100% of their progenies would be resistant. Only half the gametes produced by the heterozygous S0 progenitor would carry the allele of interest. For other characteristics, progenies from the S1 genotypes should be, at worst, similar to those generated by the S0 progenitors
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