Two-trait selection response with marker-based assortative mating

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Marker-based assortative mating (MAM) - the mating of individuals that have similar genotypes at random marker loci can increase selection response for a single trait by 3 8% over random mating (RM). Genetic gain is usually desired for multiple traits rather than for a single trait. My objectives in this study were to (!) compare MAM, phenotypic assortative mating (PAM), and RM of selected individuals for improving two traits and (2) determine when MAM will be most useful for improving two traits, l simulated 20 generations of selecting 32 out of 200 individuals in an F2 population. The individuals were selected based on an index (SI) of two traits and were intermated by MAM, PAM, or RM. I studied eight genetic models that differed in three contrasts: (1) weight, number of quantitative trait loci (QTL), and heritability (h2) for each trait; (2) linkage of QTL for each trait; and (3) trait means of the inbred parents of the F2. For SI and the two component traits, MAM increased short-term selection response by 5-8% in six out of the eight genetic models. The MAM procedure was least effective in two genetic models, wherein the QTL for one trait were unlinked to the QTL for the other trait and the parents of the F2 had divergent means for each trait. The loss of QTL heterozygosity was much greater with MAM than with PAM or RM. Consequently, the advantage of MAM over RM dissipated after 5 7 generations. Differences were small between selection responses with PAM and RM. The MAM procedure can enhance short-term selection response for two traits when selection is not stringent, h2 is low, and the means of the parents of the F2 are equal for each trait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-556
Number of pages6
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Assortative mating
  • Index selection
  • Molecular markers
  • Quantitative trait loci


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