Accuracy of marker-assisted selection with auxiliary traits
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Genetic information on molecular markers is increasingly being used in plant and animal improvement programmes particularly as indirect means to improve a metric trait by selection either on an individual basis or on the basis of an index incorporating such information. This paper examines the utility of an index of selection that not only combines phenotypic and molecular information on the trait under improvement but also combines similar information on one or more auxiliary traits. The accuracy of such a selection procedure has been theoretically studied for sufficiently large populations so that the effects of detected quantitative trait loci can be perfectly estimated. The theory is illustrated numerically by considering one auxiliary trait. It is shown that the use of an auxiliary trait improves the selection accuracy; and, hence, the relative efficiency of index selection compared to individual selection which is based on the same intensity of selection. This is particularly so for higher magnitudes of residual genetic correlation and environmental correlation having opposite signs, lower values of the proportion of genetic variation in the main trait associated with the markers, negligible proportion of genetic variation in the auxiliary trait associated with the markers, and lower values of the heritability of the main trait but higher values of the heritability of the auxiliary trait.
Volume 48, 2023
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