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CIMMYT-China runs third training course on

Nearly 70 participants attended a four-day training course on quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and breeding simulation at Sichuan Agricultural University (Ya’an, Sichuan), 11-14 May 2009. This is the third QTL training course CIMMYT-China has organized.

A rapid increase in the availability of fine-scale genetic marker maps has led to intensive use of QTL mapping in the study of quantitative traits. QTL are identifiable areas of DNA that are closely linked to genes of such traits. QTL are associated with continuous traits that are caused by multiple genes as well as the environment, and tend to be hard to locate. The QTL mapping course aimed to help scientists better identify and classify QTL—specifically for drought tolerance and yield-related traits—through new software and technology developed by the Crop Research Informatics Laboratory (CRIL) team at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) QuLine, developed by CIMMYT and shared by CIMMYT and University of Queensland, Australia, is a genetics and breeding simulation tool. It integrates various genes with multiple alleles that operate within epistatic networks and interact differentially with the environment. QuLine also predicts the outcomes from a specific cross following the application of a real selection scheme.

CIMMYT’s Wheat Breeding Program has used QuLine to compare selection strategies, to study the effects on selection of dominance and epistasis, to predict cross performance using known gene information, and to investigate the efficient use of marker-assisted selection in pyramiding multiple genes in wheat breeding. The QuLine tool can bridge vast amounts of biological data and breeders’ needs for heightened selection efficiency and gain, using all available tools and information.

The course was sponsored by the Generation Challenge Program (GCP), the National 973 Program of China, and the Natural Science Foundation of China.