Optimizing whole-genomic prediction for autotetraploid blueberry breeding

Heredity (Edinb). 2020 Dec;125(6):437-448. doi: 10.1038/s41437-020-00357-x. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) is an important autopolyploid crop with significant benefits for human health. Apart from its genetic complexity, the feasibility of genomic prediction has been proven for blueberry, enabling a reduction in the breeding cycle time and increasing genetic gain. However, as for other polyploid crops, sequencing costs still hinder the implementation of genome-based breeding methods for blueberry. This motivated us to evaluate the effect of training population sizes and composition, as well as the impact of marker density and sequencing depth on phenotype prediction for the species. For this, data from a large real breeding population of 1804 individuals were used. Genotypic data from 86,930 markers and three traits with different genetic architecture (fruit firmness, fruit weight, and total yield) were evaluated. Herein, we suggested that marker density, sequencing depth, and training population size can be substantially reduced with no significant impact on model accuracy. Our results can help guide decisions toward resource allocation (e.g., genotyping and phenotyping) in order to maximize prediction accuracy. These findings have the potential to allow for a faster and more accurate release of varieties with a substantial reduction of resources for the application of genomic prediction in blueberry. We anticipate that the benefits and pipeline described in our study can be applied to optimize genomic prediction for other diploid and polyploid species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blueberry Plants* / genetics
  • Genome, Plant
  • Genomics*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Breeding*