Scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have
developed new gene metrics to determine the accuracy of molecular markers
used in marker-assisted selection (MAS).
Breeders have long been using MAS to determine distinct and desirable traits
in plants such as disease resistance, grain quality, and flood tolerance.
Though this method proved to be effective in accelerating the breeding
process, they found that it is still susceptible to inaccuracies.
With this in mind, the team at IRRI developed five standards to thoroughly
assess the performance of genetic markers used in MAS. The researchers
discovered that markers that fared well on the metrics were significantly
reliable, thus increasing the efficiency of the MAS technique. This could
boost the confidence of breeders to use the markers in their breeding
programs. The metrics can also be used across different marker types and
platforms, which will allow scientists to evaluate markers not only for rice
but also for other crops.