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Marker-Assisted Selection

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A method of selecting desirable individuals in a breeding scheme based on DNA molecular marker patterns instead of, or in addition to, their trait values.A tool that can help plant breeders select more efficiently for desirable crop traits.

Marker-Assisted Selection - Objectives and Overview

Patrick Byrne
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, USA

Kelley Richardson
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Oregon State University, USA
Welcome to the Marker-Assisted Selection on-line lesson! Use the arrow buttons at the bottom of the page to move through the lesson materials. Before starting the lesson, please note these helpful navigation tips.

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Objectives and Overview

Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is a method of selecting desirable individuals in a breeding scheme based on DNA molecular marker patterns instead of, or in addition to, their trait values. When used in appropriate situations, it is a tool that can help plant breeders select more efficiently for desirable crop traits. However, MAS is not always advantageous, so careful analysis of the costs and benefits relative to conventional breeding methods is necessary.

Upon completing this lesson you should be able to:

  • Explain the basic concepts of MAS.
  • List the prerequisites for implementing a MAS program.
  • Explain the potential advantages and drawbacks of MAS.
  • Describe how MAS is used to select for a major gene in a backcross conversion program.
  • Describe how MAS is used to select multiple genes controlling a quantitative trait.

Development of this lesson was supported in part by USDA Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS)
and the Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 00-52100-9710.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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