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In The plant genome

Genomic selection approaches have increased the speed of plant breeding, leading to growing crop yields over the last decade. However, climate change is impacting current and future yields, resulting in the need to further accelerate breeding efforts to cope with these changing conditions. Here we present approaches to accelerate plant breeding and incorporate nonadditive effects in genomic selection by applying state-of-the-art machine learning approaches. These approaches are made more powerful by the inclusion of pangenomes, which represent the entire genome content of a species. Understanding the strengths and limitations of machine learning methods, compared with more traditional genomic selection efforts, is paramount to the successful application of these methods in crop breeding. We describe examples of genomic selection and pangenome-based approaches in crop breeding, discuss machine learning-specific challenges, and highlight the potential for the application of machine learning in genomic selection. We believe that careful implementation of machine learning approaches will support crop improvement to help counter the adverse outcomes of climate change on crop production.

Bayer Philipp E, Petereit Jakob, Danilevicz Monica Furaste, Anderson Robyn, Batley Jacqueline, Edwards David