Breeding without breeding: is a complete pedigree necessary for efficient breeding?

PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25737. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025737. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Complete pedigree information is a prerequisite for modern breeding and the ranking of parents and offspring for selection and deployment decisions. DNA fingerprinting and pedigree reconstruction can substitute for artificial matings, by allowing parentage delineation of naturally produced offspring. Here, we report on the efficacy of a breeding concept called "Breeding without Breeding" (BwB) that circumvents artificial matings, focusing instead on a subset of randomly sampled, maternally known but paternally unknown offspring to delineate their paternal parentage. We then generate the information needed to rank those offspring and their paternal parents, using a combination of complete (full-sib: FS) and incomplete (half-sib: HS) analyses of the constructed pedigrees. Using a random sample of wind-pollinated offspring from 15 females (seed donors), growing in a 41-parent western larch population, BwB is evaluated and compared to two commonly used testing methods that rely on either incomplete (maternal half-sib, open-pollinated: OP) or complete (FS) pedigree designs. BwB produced results superior to those from the incomplete design and virtually identical to those from the complete pedigree methods. The combined use of complete and incomplete pedigree information permitted evaluating all parents, both maternal and paternal, as well as all offspring, a result that could not have been accomplished with either the OP or FS methods alone. We also discuss the optimum experimental setting, in terms of the proportion of fingerprinted offspring, the size of the assembled maternal and paternal half-sib families, the role of external gene flow, and selfing, as well as the number of parents that could be realistically tested with BwB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breeding / methods*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Inbreeding
  • Inheritance Patterns / genetics
  • Larix / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Pedigree
  • Sample Size