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Scientific paper demonstrates new paradigm for marker assisted selection

June 11, 2010

A scientific paper entitled "Context-Specific Marker-Assisted Selection for Improved Grain Yield in Elite Soybean Populations" was published in Crop Science magazine. This paper, written by scientists at Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, describes the first scientific demonstration of a context-specific marker assisted selection (MAS) method for improved grain yield - the most important yet most complex trait for plant breeders to improve. The paper exposes a new paradigm for MAS of complex traits that are too complex to dissect at the genetic level. 

"Context-Specific Marker-Assisted Selection (CSM) is a major component of Pioneer's AYTTM System and an integral part of product development at Pioneer," said Dr. Scott Sebastian, Pioneer Research fellow and lead author on the paper. "Because we have seen the power and potential of CSM, we are excited to share our work with other breeders through the publication of this paper. We feel CSM will help sustain Pioneer's leadership position, and ultimately help meet the needs of a growing world population."

Sebastian and 11 other Pioneer scientists co-authored the paper which describes CSM in detail. 

CSM is an effective method for interpreting complex DNA fingerprints. It allows scientists to identify genetically superior crop varieties during the very first phase of yield testing. CSM improves selection precision, testing efficiency, and genetic gain. It does this by reducing the confounding effects of environmental variation and individual plot measurement errors. The result is that breeders can more quickly identify products that will perform well over a broad range of environmental conditions. Pioneer customers will know the importance of this work as Y Series Soybeans. CSM and other components of AYT are being used in corn and other crops at Pioneer.

Co-authors of the publication include Scott Sebastian, Leon Streit, Paul Stephens, Jeffrey Thompson, Brad Hedges, Martin Fabrizius, John Soper, Daria Schmidt, Randy Kallem, Mark Hinds, Lizhi Feng and Joe Hoeck.