Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Statistics for Australian Grains
Issue 126 | Jan -- Feb 2017 | GRDC GROUNDCOVERTM SUPPLEMENT: SAGI GROUNDCOVER 10 TRIAL DESIGN PHOTO: LUKE GAYNOR KEY POINTS n The GRDC-funded National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program (NBGIP) plants 4000 to 5000 canola plots each year n Advanced trial design by SAGI has reduced by 20 to 30 per cent the number of trial plots needed to assess the genetic traits of canola. This saving goes straight back into variety development n NBGIP supplies advanced germplasm to canola breeding companies BUILDING A NEW AND IMPROVED CANOLA By Dr Harsh Raman n Smart trial design not only reveals more of the genetic variation in canola germplasm, but also speeds up the delivery of important traits such as blackleg resistance and drought tolerance to new varieties. Several major genes and polygenes (genes that act together) associated with essential traits such as resistance to blackleg disease and pod shatter have been identified by the National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program (NBGIP). Identifying superior germplasm is the vital first step underpinning the development of new varieties in Australia. It is an exhaustive process, with the program sowing 4000 to 5000 canola plots each year before taking measurements in the field, followed by detailed analysis of the target quality traits in the laboratory. Genes associated with grain yield and yield-related traits, such as tolerance to drought and heat, early vigour, rapid biomass accumulation, and flowering time, have also been identified in NBGIP projects. The GRDC-supported program's pre-breeding work is aiming to provide advanced canola germplasm to private breeding companies. Once in the hands of a breeding company it still takes five to eight years to breed a trait into a new variety, evaluate it in variety trials and bulk up seed. The NBGIP project partners are the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and the University of Western Australia. It takes a substantial amount of data and rigorous analysis to correctly identify the effects of genes that control variation in key traits. This is where researchers from Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI) step in. SAGI's participation allows the use of advanced statistical tools to reduce the cost of expensive phenotyping and increases the efficiency of delivering NBGIP research outputs to canola breeding companies. Through SAGI's involvement, researchers Evaluation of diverse canola lines for high grain yield. have been able to reduce the number of plots required, and the cost, by 20 to 30 per cent -- a saving that goes straight back into further variety development. With funding from the GRDC since 2013, SAGI has developed experimental trial designs to separate the genetic components of variation from other variation found in paddock, glasshouse or laboratory experiments. Multi-phase trials include all the steps from growing plots to analysis of useful genetic traits in the lab. SAGI analysis traces each variety throughout the process and factors in all the variables, from the location in the paddock to the time of day it was analysed in the lab. Bringing all of this data together removes the environmental variation, allowing breeders to clearly identify key traits required by canola companies. Research outputs such as molecular markers and germplasm are being delivered to canola breeding companies so that improved varieties can be developed rapidly for growers. SAGI and NBGIP are now working together to develop reliable models to understand gene interactions and to analyse trait-marker association for breeding using the large amount of genomic data. o GRDC Research Code DAN00208 More information: Dr Harsh Raman, NSW DPI, 02 6938 1925, firstname.lastname@example.org Identifying superior germplasm is the vital first step underpinning the development of new varieties in Australia.
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