Comparing expected and realized inheritance in wheat

Lewis Lukens (Plant Agriculture)

The key to increasing food production for a growing population is genetic improvement while maintaining genetic variation. Genetic improvement in many plant species involves crossing two elite cultivars, evaluating 100s or 1000s of progeny, and selecting the one or two genotypes that are the best. These selected individuals are expected to be composed of 50% of alleles from one parent and 50% of the alleles from a second. Nonetheless, recent work has shown that selection frequently favors one parent’s alleles. It is not unusual for a selected individual to share 80% of its alleles with one parent. We will test this hypothesis by comparing SNP data of selected genotypes and their parents using pedigrees and collected genome-wide SNP data over a population of wheat lines and their ancestors. The work will primarily utilize R Bioconductor software.