21st century wheat breeding: plot selection or plate detection?

Trends Biotechnol. 2003 Feb;21(2):59-63. doi: 10.1016/S0167-7799(02)00036-7.


The publicly reported limited application of marker-assisted selection (MAS) in wheat breeding programmes to date is reviewed and contrasted with the current situation, in which it has increasingly become technically feasible to tag almost any gene with a microsatellite assay. Although this capability is starting to have an impact on the conduct of large breeding programmes, a much more profound change in breeding strategy will become possible when single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology has matured sufficiently so that the throughput of molecular marker-based genotyping is able to keep pace with the numbers of plants that breeders routinely handle in the field. We explore the extent to which the genomics revolution might generate a change in the conventional breeding paradigm, which has operated with such success for the best part of the 20th century, and identify the need for a substantial reduction in assay price before MAS is likely to make more than a marginal impact on present practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods
  • Agriculture / trends
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Biotechnology / trends
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genetic Engineering / methods
  • Genetic Engineering / trends
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Variation
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Triticum / genetics*
  • Triticum / growth & development*


  • Genetic Markers