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Harness the power of genomic selection and the potential of germplasm in crop breeding for global food security in the era with rapid climate change

He, T. and Li, C. (2020) Harness the power of genomic selection and the potential of germplasm in crop breeding for global food security in the era with rapid climate change. The Crop Journal, 8 (5). pp. 688-700.

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Crop genetic improvements catalysed population growth, which in turn has increased the pressure for food security. We need to produce 70% more food to meet the demands of 9.5 billion people by 2050. Climate changes have posed challenges for global food supply, while the narrow genetic base of elite crop cultivars has further limited our capacity to increase genetic gain through conventional breeding. The effective utilization of genetic resources in germplasm collections for crop improvement is crucial to increasing genetic gain to address challenges in the global food supply. Genomic selection (GS) uses genome-wide markers and phenotype information from observed populations to establish associations, followed by genome-wide markers to predict phenotypic values in test populations. Characterizing an extensive germplasm collection can serve a dual purpose in GS, as a reference population for predicting model, and mining desirable genetic variants for incorporation into elite cultivars. New technologies, such as high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping, machine learning, and gene editing, have great potential to contribute to genome-assisted breeding. Breeding programmes integrating germplasm characterization, GS and emerging technologies offer promise for accelerating the development of cultivars with improved yield and enhanced resistance and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Finally, scientifically informed regulations on new breeding technologies, and increased sharing of genetic resources, genomic data, and bioinformatics expertise between developed and developing economies will be the key to meeting the challenges of the rapidly changing climate and increased demand for food.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Western Australian State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre
Western Barley Genetics Alliance
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Copyright: © 2020 Crop Science Society of China and Institute of Crop Science
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