Accurate prediction of complex traits for individuals and offspring from parents using a simple, rapid, and efficient method for gene-based breeding in cotton and maize. Academic Article uri icon


  • Accurate, simple, rapid, and inexpensive prediction of complex traits controlled by numerous genes is paramount to enhanced plant breeding, animal breeding, and human medicine. Here we report a novel method that enables accurate, simple, and rapid prediction of complex traits of individuals or offspring from parents based on the number of favorable alleles (NFAs) of the genes controlling the objective traits. The NFAs of 226 cotton fiber length (GFL) genes and nine maize hybrid grain yield related (ZmF1GY) genes were directly used to predict cotton fiber lengths of individual plants and maize grain yields of F1 hybrids from parents, respectively, using prediction model-based methods as controls. The NFAs of the 226 GFL genes predicted cotton fiber lengths at an accuracy of 0.85, as the model methods and outperforming genomic prediction by 82 % - 170 %. The NFAs of the nine ZmF1GY genes predicted grain yields of maize hybrids from parents at an accuracy of 0.80, outperforming genomic prediction by 67 %. Moreover, the prediction accuracies of these traits were consistent across years, environments, and eco-agricultural systems. Importantly, the accurate prediction of these traits directly using the NFAs of the genes allows breeding to be performed in greenhouse, phytotron, or off-season, without the need of the model training and validation steps essential and costly for model-based genomic or genic prediction. Therefore, this new method dramatically outperforms the current model-based genomic methods used for phenotype prediction and streamlines the process of breeding, thus promising to substantially enhance current plant and animal breeding.

published proceedings

  • Plant Sci

altmetric score

  • 2.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Y., Zhang, M., Scheuring, C. F., Cilkiz, M., Sze, S., Smith, C. W., ... Zhang, H.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Yun-Hua||Zhang, Meiping||Scheuring, Chantel F||Cilkiz, Mustafa||Sze, Sing-Hoi||Smith, C Wayne||Murray, Seth C||Xu, Wenwei||Zhang, Hong-Bin

publication date

  • March 2022