Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Statistics for Australian Grains
GROUNDCOVER 6 Issue 126 | Jan -- Feb 2017 | GRDC GROUNDCOVERTM SUPPLEMENT: SAGI CAPACITY BUILDING By Melissa Marino n During her PhD, biometrician Dr Dini Ganesalingam cracked a problem in a widely used computer program that halved the time it took to analyse large and complex plant-breeding datasets. This led to a time saving in mixed-model analysis that enabled researchers to identify and select the most promising varieties before the following season's trial plantings. "Because plant breeding hinges on the content of your trial, the data from those trials has to be turned around quickly to know what plants to progress or abandon from the program," she says. "And it's a huge monetary issue because if you don't get the stats right you may lose a plant that might be the next 'gun' variety -- and at the same time you don't want to invest too much into something that might not make the cut." At the time, in 2012, the grains industry benefited widely from Dr Ganesalingam's adaptation of the software and today she is using it herself to crunch datasets in the narrow-leafed lupin breeding program with Australian Grain Technologies (AGT), which took over the role from the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, in February 2016. Using mixed-model analysis, which combines ancestral information with performance and quality traits, Dr Ganesalingam is marrying her expertise in biometrics -- or statistical analysis -- with plant breeding to develop new commercial lupin varieties. EYE OF A CARD SHARP Dr Ganesalingam likens her role in the AGT lupin breeding program to a card sharp in a poker game. "Every time we The science of picking winners Biometrician Dr Dini Ganesalingam explains the plant breeding numbers game, and how statistics tools boost the odds in favour of finding and commercialising an advanced new trait Dr Dini Ganesalingam is marrying her expertise in biometrics -- or statistical analysis -- with plant breeding to develop new commercial lupin varieties.
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