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 topic is relevant for all IAS exam aspirants.

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 which makes up a segment of DNA. The markers are located near the DNA sequence of the desired gene and the transmission of features take 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.

What is the 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 is not possible through the marker assisted selection method.

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 behaviour characteristic of animal varieties.

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