Re-booting potato: enhancing the breeding of hybrid diploid potato using statistical genetics and computer simulations
The aim of the Rebooting Potato project is on applying a century’s worth of statistical genetic and breeding theory to an emerging crop and important player in the potato industry. This project is focused on using germplasm derived from an active breeding programme to answer relevant questions related to value of parents, estimatability of heterosis across hybrids, future breeding strategy, and the presence of large QTL’s contributing to the variation in this breeding programme. All of these represent fundamental questions which define the potential of this new crop and the success of future breeding endeavors in this industry.
This project has the unequivocal aim of increasing rates of genetic gain for potato through the application of valuable statistical genetic theory. This means applying the best methods to a breeding programme in real time to learn about the genetic mechanisms of this new crop (e.g. estimate gene number & QTL detection), build tools to offer analytic results to breeders now (e.g. derivatives of GBLUP to make inferences on complex traits), and perform simulations to forecast future strategy for breeders. This will contribute tangible value not only to the industrial partner, Solynta, in this project, but also offer guidance to the wider industry.
Hybrid diploid potato is a quickly growing sector not only within the Netherlands, but in the greater international markets. Despite the growth and excitement around the crop, there is still a significant knowledge gap for current breeders. The use of classical and novel statistical genetic techniques to solve the aforementioned breeding application justifies this projects presence within the ST2 biotechnology and breeding MMIP.
The results this project will produce are the following:
• Provide details of prominence and genetic mechanisms of heterosis in hybrid diploid potato (Publication and reports made in mid-2021)
• Conduct a global QTL detection programme to find large effects acting on complex traits in diploid potato (Plans to begin this work in late-Spring 2021. Share findings late 2021)
• In light of trait genetic architecture, directly apply this to statistical models to forecast estimates of future elite parents and valuable hybrid crosses (Begun in 2020, development ongoing)
• Simulate multiple breeding programme scenarios to recommend effective strategy in diploid potato breeding to Solynta and the wider world of potato research (Presentation and publications planned for mid-2022)
• Review classical multilocation models utilized in potato and apply modern temporal-spatial methods to evaluate hybrids in a series of multilocation trials