Breeding Basics

Texas Kid

Some guy with a light
Breeding Basics
In a nutshell...breeding involves the following tasks:

a) collection of germplasm- the acquisition of seeds and/or clones of plants that are worth working with for one reason or another

b) preservation of germplasm
- open pollination or assisted pollination of a pair, some, most or all seedlings (male and female) from a particular generation of a seed-line
- notes kept from each seed-lot with information about phenotypes, traits, variation/distribution of traits, finishing times, mold resistance, etc. from each generation
- proper storage of each seed-lot so that they remain vital for as long as possible, generation of new seed as needed (every 5-7 years)
- distribution of appropriate sized samples to other breeders and collectors
- maintenance of healthy clone mothers
- sharing of important clones

c) evaluation of germplasm - growing out an appropriate sized sample from a particular seed-lot or growing a particular clone or clones to find out if they are suitable for preservation and/or breeding
- growing of seedlings and clones in a variety of environments and conditions to better understand them

d) formulation of breeding plan (objectives)- compiling a list of wants and desires
- speculation upon which seedlines and clones when combined will allow the desired traits to appear in significant proportions, based on experience from previous crossings using same and/or related genetics, and based upon common sense/instinct, intuition and visions in the minds eye

e) selections- choosing which plants will contribute their genetics to the immediate crossings and ultimately the future gene pool
- choosing which plants exhibit the required trait(s) and phenotype(s) to achieve the objectives of the breeding plan
- choosing which plants when crossed will provide a predictable or semi-predictable outcome, as based on previous crossings with the same or related genetics
- choosing plants with known dominant and recessive traits
- choosing plants which exhibit unexpected traits that may be useful in this or future crossings
- choosing which plants to destroy, plants which do not have any merit or useful traits, or plants that are subpar when compared to siblings
- choosing plants that exhibit a strong aura and personality, plants that stand out for some reason or another

f) test crossings and evaluation of test crossings- pollination of one or many females by one or more males
- growing out a suitable number of the seeds (and possibly clones from the best seedlings) in one or many environments and keeping records of important information about each crossing

g) generating seed- using original parents, new parents from the same seedlines, clones, and/or stored pollen to create seeds based on the same genetic crossings (or on similar crossings) based on previous experiences and evaluations
- distribution of seed to other breeders and/or farmers for field testing

h) stabilizations of best progeny (for use in further breeding projects)
- backcrossing and/or inbreeding of two or many suitable parents in order to create pool traits present in future generations
- selecting appropriate plants in each generation so that certain traits are selected and culling unsuitable plants so that undesirable traits are excluded
- growing a minimum amount of plants in each generation so that most or all traits are available to make selections from, growing 40-200 seeds from each generation beyond F1 would make most traits available for selections
- once stabilization is evident (from F5 onwards) growing 40-200 seedlings in each generation and increasing the % of parents used in pollinations so that important traits are kept in good proportions