A cost-benefit analysis of DNA informed apple breeding

Seth D. Wannemuehler, James J. Luby, Chengyan Yue, David S. Bedford, R. Karina Gallardo, Vicki A. McCracken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Incorporating DNA-informed breeding techniques can improve selection efficiency for desired traits as compared with conventional breeding methods that do not use DNA-informed techniques. Incorporation of DNA technologies requires additional costs associated with reagents, equipment, and labor. To elucidate the costeffectiveness of DNA-informed breeding in perennial crops with multiple years per generation, we conducted a cost-benefit analysis examining incorporation of markerassisted selection (MAS), a type of DNA-informed breeding, applied to an apple breeding program. Annual operational costs for a midwest apple breeding program were used to develop a simulation with inputs including itemized costs and per unit costs for procedures at each breeding program stage. Simulations compared costs of MAS breeding techniques to conventional breeding methods to identify the break-even point (BEP) where cost-savings associated with MAS equals the accrued additional costs. Additional sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine changes in laboratory costs, seedling maintenance costs, and seedling evaluation costs. We found the BEP for this program occurs when MAS results in a removal rate of 13.18%, and changes to other costs (i.e., maintenance costs) result in a smaller percent decrease to the overall program budget. Our findings are useful to perennial crop breeding programs in which managers are considering incorporating DNA-informed breeding techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1998-2004
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received for publication 26 Apr. 2019. Accepted for publication 30 July 2019. Funding for RosBREED: Combining disease resistance with horticultural quality in new rosaceous cultivars is provided by the Specialty Crop Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2014-51181-22378 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. J.J.L. and V.A.M. are Professors. C.Y. is a Professor and Bachman Endowed Chair in Horticultural Marketing. D.S.B. is a Senior Research Fellow. R.K.G. is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist. C.Y. is the corresponding author. E-mail: yuechy@ umn.edu.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


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