What is Marker-Assisted Selection?

Marker-assisted selection or marker aided selection (MAS) is an indirect selection process where the desired trait is selected based on a marker(morphological, biochemical or DNA/RNA variation) linked to a trait of interest (e.g. productivity, disease resistance, tolerance, and quality), rather than on the trait itself.

This is a breeding process for both animals and plants.

This article will give details about this concept which will be of immense use for candidates appearing for the IAS exam.

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How is the marker-assisted selection done?

Marker-assisted selection is done to retain a specific characteristic through plant breeding mostly.

The process involves identifying specific genes using molecular or genetic markers which are a sequence of nucleic acid that makes up a segment of DNA. The markers are located near the DNA sequence of the desired gene and the transmission of features takes place through the laws of inheritance. Since the markers and the genes are close together on the same chromosome, desired features are transmitted with each generation of plants that is produced. This process helps in plant breeding to ensure high quality and disease-resistant features are retained in the variety produced.

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Species, Genetics & Ecosystem Biodiversity High Yield Crops in India – Benefits, Disadvantages  Biofortification – Definition, Crops, Advantages
Major Crops in India Crop Diversification – Origin, Analysis, Effect on Economy List of Agricultural Revolutions in India
DNA – Composition, Characteristics & Applications DNA Vaccine – Composition, Uses & Advantages mRNA Vaccine [Messenger RNA Vaccine]

What is marker-assisted recurrent selection?

Marker-Assisted Recurrent Selection can come out as the most important strategy in the molecular breeding programme. This method helps to manipulate features that are a definition for complex traits and it also helps to control irrelevant expressions that are not possible through the marker-assisted selection method.

Advantages of Marker-Assisted Selection

Marker-assisted selection may greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of breeding compared to conventional breeding.  The fundamental advantages of MAS compared to conventional phenotypic selection are:

  • Simpler compared to phenotypic screening
  • Selection may be carried out at seedling stage
  • Single plants may be selected with high reliability.

These advantages may translate into

  1. greater efficiency or
  2. accelerated line development in breeding programs.

Why is marker-assisted selection in animals done?

Marker-Assisted Selection in animals is done to detect genes for genetic disorders, disease resistance and improved product quality. The use of Marker Assisted Selection to improve longevity, feather pecking, stress resistance, desired behavior characteristic of animal varieties.

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