Genome-wide identification of genes enabling accurate prediction of hybrid performance from parents across environments and populations for gene-based breeding in maize. Academic Article uri icon


  • Accurate prediction of hybrid offspring complex trait phenotype from parents is paramount to enhanced plant breeding, animal breeding, and human medicine. Here we report genome-wide identification of genes enabling accurate prediction of hybrid offspring complex traits from parents using maize grain yield as the target trait. We identified 181 ZmF1GY genes enabling prediction of maize (Zea mays L.) F1 hybrid grain yield from parents and tested their utility and efficiency for predicting F1 hybrid grain yields from parents using their expressions, genic SNPs, and number of favorable alleles (NFAs), respectively. The ZmF1GY genes predicted hybrid grain yields from parents at an accuracy of 0.86, presented by correlation coefficient between predicted and observed phenotypes, within an environment, 0.74 across environments, and 0.64 across populations, outperforming genomic prediction by 27-406%, 23%, and 40%, respectively. Furthermore, we identified nine of the ZmF1GY genes containing SNPs or InDels in parents that increased or decreased hybrid grain yields by 14-46%. When the NFAs of these nine ZmF1GY genes were used for hybrid grain yield prediction from parents, they predicted hybrid grain yields at an accuracy of 0.79, outperforming genomic prediction by 21% that was based on up to tens of thousands of genome-wide SNPs. These results demonstrate the feasibility of developing a gene toolkit for a species enabling gene-based breeding across environments and populations that is much more powerful and efficient than current breeding, thereby helping secure the world's food production. The methodology is applicable to all crops, livestock, and humans.

published proceedings

  • Plant Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, M., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Sze, S., Scheuring, C. F., Qi, X., ... Zhang, H.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Meiping||Liu, Yun-Hua||Wang, Yinglei||Sze, Sing-Hoi||Scheuring, Chantel F||Qi, Xiaoli||Ekinci, Ozge||Pekar, Jacob||Murray, Seth C||Zhang, Hong-Bin

publication date

  • January 2022