Background: Genomic selection or genome-wide selection (GS) has been highlighted as a new approach for marker-assisted selection (MAS) in recent years. GS is a form of MAS that selects favourable individuals based on genomic estimated breeding values. Previous studies have suggested the utility of GS, especially for capturing small-effect quantitative trait loci, but GS has not become a popular methodology in the field of plant breeding, possibly because there is insufficient information available on GS for practical use.
Scope: In this review, GS is discussed from a practical breeding viewpoint. Statistical approaches employed in GS are briefly described, before the recent progress in GS studies is surveyed. GS practices in plant breeding are then reviewed before future prospects are discussed.
Conclusions: Statistical concepts used in GS are discussed with genetic models and variance decomposition, heritability, breeding value and linear model. Recent progress in GS studies is reviewed with a focus on empirical studies. For the practice of GS in plant breeding, several specific points are discussed including linkage disequilibrium, feature of populations and genotyped markers and breeding scheme. Currently, GS is not perfect, but it is a potent, attractive and valuable approach for plant breeding. This method will be integrated into many practical breeding programmes in the near future with further advances and the maturing of its theory.