The use of molecular genetics in the improvement of agricultural populations

Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Jan;3(1):22-32. doi: 10.1038/nrg701.


Substantial advances have been made in the genetic improvement of agriculturally important animal and plant populations through artificial selection on quantitative traits. Most of this selection has been on the basis of observable phenotype, without knowledge of the genetic architecture of the selected characteristics. However, continuing molecular genetic analysis of traits in animal and plant populations is leading to a better understanding of quantitative trait genetics. The genes and genetic markers that are being discovered can be used to enhance the genetic improvement of breeding stock through marker-assisted selection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Biology
  • Phenotype
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Selection, Genetic


  • Genetic Markers