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In Frontiers in plant science

Genomic selection (GS) is transforming the field of plant breeding and implementing models that improve prediction accuracy for complex traits is needed. Analytical methods for complex datasets traditionally used in other disciplines represent an opportunity for improving prediction accuracy in GS. Deep learning (DL) is a branch of machine learning (ML) which focuses on densely connected networks using artificial neural networks for training the models. The objective of this research was to evaluate the potential of DL models in the Washington State University spring wheat breeding program. We compared the performance of two DL algorithms, namely multilayer perceptron (MLP) and convolutional neural network (CNN), with ridge regression best linear unbiased predictor (rrBLUP), a commonly used GS model. The dataset consisted of 650 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from a spring wheat nested association mapping (NAM) population planted from 2014-2016 growing seasons. We predicted five different quantitative traits with varying genetic architecture using cross-validations (CVs), independent validations, and different sets of SNP markers. Hyperparameters were optimized for DL models by lowering the root mean square in the training set, avoiding model overfitting using dropout and regularization. DL models gave 0 to 5% higher prediction accuracy than rrBLUP model under both cross and independent validations for all five traits used in this study. Furthermore, MLP produces 5% higher prediction accuracy than CNN for grain yield and grain protein content. Altogether, DL approaches obtained better prediction accuracy for each trait, and should be incorporated into a plant breeder's toolkit for use in large scale breeding programs.

Sandhu Karansher S, Lozada Dennis N, Zhang Zhiwu, Pumphrey Michael O, Carter Arron H


artificial intelligence, convolutional neural network, deep learning, genomic selection, multilayer perceptron, neural networks, wheat breeding