Submitted to: Trends in Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Quantitative traits are traits, such as yield of grain or plant height, that are controlled by many genetic factors. Thus, breeding for improved levels of such traits is difficult and time-consuming. This paper discusses the use of new technology in which genetic markers, which are similar to signs on a road map, are used to locate and manipulate the genetic factors affecting several traits of economic importance in corn. This technology should provide plant breeders with tools that will greatly increase the efficiency and precision for developing new varieties and hybrids.
Technical Abstract: The value of molecular-marker technology has been demonstrated to be effective for identifying and mapping QTLs in maize as well as in several other crop plants. Also, the positive results from marker- facilitated selection and introgression studies should encourage the use of this technology for transferring desired genes between breeding lines. Markers should increase the precision and efficiency of plant breeding as well as expedite the acquisition of important genes from exotic populations or from wild species. However, at least one study in tomato has illustrated that evaluations of identified factors in appropriate genetic backgrounds is essential before establishing breeding programs based on associations of markers with quantitative traits. Results from recent studies showing the high degree of homology and synteny between sorghum and maize genomes should greatly enhance the efficiency for mapping quantitative traits in both species. In addition, comparative mapping with other monocotyledons has demonstrated many examples of conserved gene order and functions which should prove very useful in identifying and mapping useful genes in maize.