Aerial High-Throughput Phenotyping Enabling Indirect Selection for Grain Yield at the Early-generation Seed-limited Stages in Breeding Programs

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. R. KrauseJ. Poland

Abstract

Breeding programs for wheat and many other crops require one or more generations of seed increase before replicated yield trials can be sown. Extensive phenotyping at this stage of the breeding cycle is challenging due to the small plot size and large number of lines under evaluation. Therefore, breeders typically rely on visual selection of small, unreplicated seed increase plots for the promotion of breeding lines to replicated yield trials. With the development of aerial high-throughput phenotyping technologies, breeders now have the ability to rapidly phenotype thousands of breeding lines for traits that may be useful for indirect selection of grain yield. We evaluated early generation material in the irrigated bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) breeding program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center to determine if aerial measurements of vegetation indices assessed on small, unreplicated plots were predictive of grain yield. To test this approach, two sets of 1,008 breeding lines were sown both as replicated yield trials and as small, unreplicated plots during two breeding cycles. Vegetation indices collected with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the small plots were observed to be heritable and moderately co...Continue Reading

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