Statistical methods for plant breeding

IM Mackay, Hans-Peter Piepho, Augusto Garcia

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

10 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter, we highlight differences in the application of quantitative methods to plant breeding compared to their application in animals and humans. These originate from the very different and diverse mating systems, life histories and genome organisations found in plants compared to animals. In addition, it is common to replicate plant genotypes as clones, inbred lines, or F1 hybrids. This gives the breeder greater control experimentally over the precision with which genotypic values are estimated and reduces gain from incorporating information from relatives, as common in animal breeding. Plants show great plasticity in their response to environmental challenges and genotype x environment interactions are typically larger than in animals. Consequentially, there has been considerable emphasis on improving experimental design for field testing. The implementation of genomic selection and prediction in plants is becoming common, and there are opportunities for its incorporation into plant breeding programmes which differ from those in animals. Ultimately, however, the link between applications of statistical methods to plant and animal breeding remains the breeders’ equation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Statistical Genetics
EditorsDavid Balding, Ida Moltka, John Marioni
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)978-1-119-42914-2
Publication statusPrint publication - 2019


  • Statistical genetics
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Plant breeding


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