Pre-breeding Strategies

Sivakumar Sukumaran*, Greg Rebetzke, Ian Mackay, Alison R. Bentley, Matthew P. Reynolds*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


In general terms, pre-breeding links needed traits to new varieties and encompasses activities from discovery research, exploration of gene banks, phe- nomics, genomics and breeding. How does pre-breeding given its importance differ from varietal-based breeding? Why is pre-breeding important? Pre-breeding identi­fies trait or trait combinations to help boost yield, protect it from biotic or abiotic stress, and enhance nutritional or quality characteristics of grain. Sources of new traits/alleles are typically found in germplasm banks, and include the following categories of ‘exotic’ material: obsolete varieties, landraces, products of interspe­cific hybridization within the Triticeae such as chromosome translocation lines, pri­mary synthetic genotypes and their derivatives, and related species mainly from the primary or secondary gene pools (Genus: Triticum and Aegilops). Genetic and/or phenotyping tools are used to incorporate novel alleles/traits into elite varieties. While pre-breeding is mainly associated with use of exotics, unconventional crosses or selection methodologies aimed to accumulate novel combinations of alleles or traits into good genetic backgrounds may also be considered pre-breeding. In the current chapter, we focus on pre-breeding involving research-based screening of genetic resources, strategic crossing to combine complementary traits/alleles and progeny selection using phenomic and genomic selection, aiming to bring new functional diversity into use for development of elite cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWheat Improvement
Subtitle of host publicationFood Security in a Changing Climate
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783030906733
ISBN (Print)9783030906726
Publication statusFirst published - 3 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2022, Corrected Publication 2022


  • Genetic diversity
  • Genetic gains
  • Physiological breeding
  • Proof of concept
  • Simple and complex traits


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