Shiori Yabe†, Takashi Hara†, Mariko Ueno, Hiroyuki Enoki, Tatsuro Kimura, Satoru Nishimura, Yasuo Yasui, Ryo Ohsawa, Hiroyoshi Iwata* (†These authors contributed equally to this work, *corresponding author)


To evaluate the potential of genomic selection (GS), a selection experiment with GS and phenotypic selection (PS) was performed in an allogamous crop, common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench). To indirectly select for seed yield per unit area, which cannot be measured on a single-plant basis, a selection index was constructed from seven agro-morphological traits measurable on a single plant basis. Over 3 years, we performed two GS and one PS cycles per year for improvement in the selection index. In GS, a prediction model was updated every year on the basis of genotypes of 14,598–50,000 markers and phenotypes. Plants grown from seeds derived from a series of generations of GS and PS populations were evaluated for the traits in the selection index and other yield-related traits. GS resulted in a 20.9% increase and PS in a 15.0% increase in the selection index in comparison with the initial population. Although the level of linkage disequilibrium in the breeding population was low, the target trait was improved with GS. Traits with higher weights in the selection index were improved more than those with lower weights, especially when prediction accuracy was high. No trait changed in an unintended direction in either GS or PS. The accuracy of genomic prediction models built in the first cycle decreased in the later cycles because the genetic bottleneck through the selection cycles changed linkage disequilibrium patterns in the breeding population. The present study emphasizes the importance of updating models in GS and demonstrates the potential of GS in mass selection of allogamous crop species, and provided a pilot example of successful application of GS to plant breeding.

Paper Information

: Frontiers in Plant Science
: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00276