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, 28 (4), 597-610

The GCP Molecular Marker Toolkit, an Instrument for Use in Breeding Food Security Crops

The GCP Molecular Marker Toolkit, an Instrument for Use in Breeding Food Security Crops

Veerle Van Damme et al. Mol Breed.


Crop genetic resources carry variation useful for overcoming the challenges of modern agriculture. Molecular markers can facilitate the selection of agronomically important traits. The pervasiveness of genomics research has led to an overwhelming number of publications and databases, which are, nevertheless, scattered and hence often difficult for plant breeders to access, particularly those in developing countries. This situation separates them from developed countries, which have better endowed programs for developing varieties. To close this growing knowledge gap, we conducted an intensive literature review and consulted with more than 150 crop experts on the use of molecular markers in the breeding program of 19 food security crops. The result was a list of effectively used and highly reproducible sequence tagged site (STS), simple sequence repeat (SSR), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers. However, only 12 food crops had molecular markers suitable for improvement. That is, marker-assisted selection is not yet used for Musa spp., coconut, lentils, millets, pigeonpea, sweet potato, and yam. For the other 12 crops, 214 molecular markers were found to be effectively used in association with 74 different traits. Results were compiled as the GCP Molecular Marker Toolkit, a free online tool that aims to promote the adoption of molecular approaches in breeding activities.

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