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Seth D. Wannemuehler, Chengyan Yue, William W. Shane, R. Karina Gallardo and Vicki McCracken

Marker-assisted selection (MAS) use in breeding programs allows for examination of seedlings at an early stage before accumulation of high field costs. However, introducing MAS into a breeding program implies additional costs and uncertainties about effective incorporation. Previous simulations in apple (Malus ×domestica) have shown cost-effective applications of MAS. To further evaluate MAS cost-effectiveness in perennial crops, we conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis examining MAS in an upper midwestern U.S. peach (Prunus persica) breeding program. Breeding program procedures and associated costs were collected and used as input into spreadsheet-based simulations of the breeding program. Simulations compared a conventional breeding program to MAS with varying cull rates of low, medium, and high at multiple stages in the breeding cycle. Cost-effective MAS implementation was identified at the end of seedling trials with a break-even cull rate of 4%. These results inform breeders of cost-effectiveness of MAS use in a peach breeding program.

Free access

Richard L. Bell, Tom van der Zwet, Steve Castagnoli, Todd Einhorn, Janet D. Turner, Robert Spotts, Gary A. Moulton, Greg L. Reighard and William W. Shane