QTL Analysis in Plant Breeding

Maria J. Asins, Guillermo P. Bernet, Irene Villalta, and Emilio A. Carbonell

Abstract To maintain the quality of life on earth, agriculture has to colonize marginal areas and decrease its dependence on pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and water. Plant breeding should integrate the latest innovations in biology and genetics to better face this challenge. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis allows the location and effect-estimation of the genetic elements controlling any trait by the joint study of segregation of marker genotypes and of phenotypic values of individuals or lines. QTL analysis is now seen as a procedure to fill the gap between "omics" and the field. This chapter is focused on recent advances of three applications of QTL analysis in plants: (1) the genetic integration of agronomical, physiological and gene expression related traits (the scientific value of QTL analysis); (2) Marker-assisted selection (MAS) in breeding programs and (3) the utilization of wild germplasm to improve quantitative traits with breeding tomato for salt tolerance as an example.

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