Marker assisted selection in crop plants

E. Francia, G. Tacconi, C. Crosatti, D. Barabaschi, D. Bulgarelli, E. Dall'Aglio, G. Valè

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic mapping of major genes and quantitative traits loci (QTLs) for many important agricultural traits is increasing the integration of biotechnology with the conventional breeding process. Exploitation of the information derived from the map position of traits with agronomical importance and of the linked molecular markers, can be achieved through marker assisted selection (MAS) of the traits during the breeding process. However, empirical applications of this procedure have shown that the success of MAS depends upon several factors, including the genetic base of the trait, the degree of the association between the molecular marker and the target gene, the number of individuals that can be analyzed and the genetic background in which the target gene has to be transferred. MAS for simply inherited traits is gaining increasing importance in breeding programs, allowing an acceleration of the breeding process. Traits related to disease resistance to pathogens and to the quality of some crop products are offering some important examples of a possible routinary application of MAS. For more complex traits, like yield and abiotic stress tolerance, a number of constraints have determined severe limitations on an efficient utilization of MAS in plant breeding, even if there are a few successful applications in improving quantitative traits. Recent advances in genotyping technologies together with comparative and functional genomic approaches are providing useful tools for the selection of genotypes with superior agronomical performancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-342
Number of pages26
JournalPlant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Crop improvement
  • Genetic mapping
  • Genome analysis
  • Marker assisted selection
  • PCR-based markers
  • QTLs
  • Synteny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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