4 years ago

Omics-based hybrid prediction in maize

Stefan Scholten, Lothar Willmitzer, Zoran Nikoloski, Mark Stitt, Alexander Thiemann, Albrecht E. Melchinger, Matthias Westhues, Chris C. Schön, Armin Schlereth, H. Friedrich Utz, Felix Seifert, Wolfgang Schipprack, Georg Thaller, Claas Heuer, Anita Ehret, Tobias A. Schrag


Key message

Complementing genomic data with other “omics” predictors can increase the probability of success for predicting the best hybrid combinations using complex agronomic traits.


Accurate prediction of traits with complex genetic architecture is crucial for selecting superior candidates in animal and plant breeding and for guiding decisions in personalized medicine. Whole-genome prediction has revolutionized these areas but has inherent limitations in incorporating intricate epistatic interactions. Downstream “omics” data are expected to integrate interactions within and between different biological strata and provide the opportunity to improve trait prediction. Yet, predicting traits from parents to progeny has not been addressed by a combination of “omics” data. Here, we evaluate several “omics” predictors—genomic, transcriptomic and metabolic data—measured on parent lines at early developmental stages and demonstrate that the integration of transcriptomic with genomic data leads to higher success rates in the correct prediction of untested hybrid combinations in maize. Despite the high predictive ability of genomic data, transcriptomic data alone outperformed them and other predictors for the most complex heterotic trait, dry matter yield. An eQTL analysis revealed that transcriptomic data integrate genomic information from both, adjacent and distant sites relative to the expressed genes. Together, these findings suggest that downstream predictors capture physiological epistasis that is transmitted from parents to their hybrid offspring. We conclude that the use of downstream “omics” data in prediction can exploit important information beyond structural genomics for leveraging the efficiency of hybrid breeding.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-017-2934-0

DOI: 10.1007/s00122-017-2934-0

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