Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2005
Publication Date: 1/24/2006
Citation: Stendal, C., Casler, M.D. 2006. Maximizing efficiency of recurrent phenotypic selection for neutral detergent fiber concentration in smooth bromegrass. Crop Science. 46:297-302. Interpretive Summary: Resources are always limited in plant breeding programs, limiting the number of plots or plants that can be evaluated as potential parents of a new variety. For smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis L.), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) severely limits livestock performance because it is highly indigestible. We compared various methods of choosing the best parents, based on multiple harvests or multiple plants of each parental line. Using the average NDF of multiple harvests in one year resulted in best group of parental lines at the least cost, ie. the best benefit:cost ratio. These results will be of value to other plant breeders and geneticists who are developing new varieties of forage crops with increased nutritional value for livestock.
Technical Abstract: Resources are always limited in plant breeding programs, limiting the number of plots or plants that can be utilized in recurrent selection. Replication of selection units in space or time provides a mechanism to improve the precision of measurements. For smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis L.), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) is the most effective and measurable predictor of animal intake, a major source of variation for livestock production. The objective of this experiment was to determine the potential benefits and costs of replication in time and space for divergent recurrent selection on NDF of smooth bromegrass. Phenotypic data was used to predict selection response and derive a benefit:cost ratio for a variety of selection criteria based on various numbers of blocks and harvests. Three of the 70 selection criteria examined had an expected selection response significantly greater than that predicted by a log-linear regression of expected selection response as a function of cost. These selection criteria were based on two or three harvests and one or two blocks. Two of the selection criteria, emphasizing one harvest of unreplicated plants, had a benefit:cost ratio significantly above the mean. If financial resources are not a concern, selection based on the mean of multiple harvests in one year resulted in the highest expected response per year. If financial resources are greatly limited, one harvest of unreplicated plants provides an adequate expected response per cycle, but maximizes gain per unit cost.