Plant breeders' perspectives on improving yield and quality traits in horticultural food crops

James J. Luby, Douglas V. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Breeders of horticultural food crops are usually concerned with multiple traits related to yield and quality as well as other traits such as biotic and abiotic stresses. Yield in these crops is not solely tonnage of biomass produced in the field. Rather, it is the proportion of the crop that can be harvested and brought to market in a condition and at a price acceptable to the consumer. Quality may include flavor, color, shape, size, degree of damage, nutrient levels, and traits that permit greater perceived food safety or environmental sustainability. Some traits may exhibit phenotypic associations. Traits with unfavorable associations will be of concern to the breeder if the cause is unfavorably correlated genetic effects, especially those resulting from pleiotropy. Several multiple trait selection schemes have been developed, including independent culling levels, tandem selection, and index selection. These schemes can result in improvement even for traits with unfavorable associations. However, the breeder must have a strong rationale for each trait addressed in a breeding program because each additional trait necessitates larger breeding populations and more resources. Thus, the breeder's first challenge for each crop is to determine which traits are most important and which issues are most amenable to a breeding solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-22
Number of pages3
JournalHortScience
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Genetic correlation
  • Multiple trait selection
  • Phenotypic correlation

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