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Genetics Selection Evolution

Open Access

Marker assisted selection with optimised contributions of the candidates to selection

  • Beatriz Villanueva1Email author,
  • Ricardo Pong-Wong2 and
  • John A. Woolliams2
Genetics Selection Evolution200234:679

Received: 13 November 2001

Accepted: 2 August 2002

Published: 15 November 2002


The benefits of marker assisted selection (MAS) are evaluated under realistic assumptions in schemes where the genetic contributions of the candidates to selection are optimised for maximising the rate of genetic progress while restricting the accumulation of inbreeding. MAS schemes were compared with schemes where selection is directly on the QTL (GAS or gene assisted selection) and with schemes where genotype information is not considered (PHE or phenotypic selection). A methodology for including prior information on the QTL effect in the genetic evaluation is presented and the benefits from MAS were investigated when prior information was used. The optimisation of the genetic contributions has a great impact on genetic response but the use of markers leads to only moderate extra short-term gains. Optimised PHE did as well as standard truncation GAS (i.e. with fixed contributions) in the short-term and better in the long-term. The maximum accumulated benefit from MAS over PHE was, at the most, half of the maximum benefit achieved from GAS, even with very low recombination rates between the markers and the QTL. However, the use of prior information about the QTL effects can substantially increase genetic gain, and, when the accuracy of the priors is high enough, the responses from MAS are practically as high as those obtained with direct selection on the QTL.


marker assisted selectiongene assisted selectionoptimised selectionBLUP selectionrestricted inbreeding

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Authors’ Affiliations

Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, UK
Roslin Institute (Edinburgh), Roslin, Midlothian, UK


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2002