Crafting for a better MAGIC: systematic design and test for multiparental advanced generation inter-cross population

Chin Jian Yang, Rodney N Edmondson, Hans-Peter Piepho, Wayne Powell, Ian Mackay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Multiparental Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) populations are valuable crop resources with a wide array of research uses including genetic mapping of complex traits, management of genetic resources and breeding of new varieties. Multiple founders are crossed to create a rich mosaic of highly recombined founder genomes in the MAGIC recombinant inbred lines (RILs). Many variations of MAGIC population designs exist; however, a large proportion of the currently available populations have been created empirically and based on similar designs. In our evaluations of five MAGIC populations, we found that the choice of designs has a large impact on the recombination landscape in the RILs. The most popular design used in many MAGIC populations has been shown to have a bias in recombinant haplotypes and low level of unique recombinant haplotypes, and therefore is not recommended. To address this problem and provide a remedy for the future, we have developed the “magicdesign” R package for creating and testing any MAGIC population design via simulation. A Shiny app version of the package is available as well. Our “magicdesign” package provides a unifying tool and a framework for creativity and innovation in MAGIC population designs. For example, using this package, we demonstrate that MAGIC population designs can be found which are very effective in creating haplotype diversity without the requirement for very large crossing programs. Furthermore, we show that interspersing cycles of crossing with cycles of selfing is effective in increasing haplotype diversity. These approaches are applicable in species that are hard to cross or in which resources are limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjkab295
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number11
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusPrint publication - Nov 2021


  • Genetic diversity
  • MPP
  • Multiparental Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC)
  • Multiparental populations
  • Population design
  • Quantitative genetics


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