Marker-assisted selection holds promise because genetic markers provide completely heritable traits than can be measured at any age in either sex and that are potentially correlated with traits of economic value. Theoretical and simulation studies show that the advantage of using marker-assisted selection can be substantial, particularly when marker information is used, because normal selection is less effective, for example, for sex-limited or carcass traits. Assessment of the available information and its most effective use is difficult, but approaches such as crossvalidation may help in this respect. Marker systems are now becoming available that allow the high density of markers required for close associations between marker loci and trait loci. Emerging technologies could allow large numbers of polymorphic sites to be identified, practically guaranteeing that markers will be available that are in complete association with any trait locus. Identifying which polymorphism out of many that is associated with any trait will remain problematic, but multiple-locus disequilibrium measures may allow performance to be associated with unique marker haplotypes. This type of approach, combined with cheap and high density markers, could allow a move from selection based on a combination of "infinitesimal" effects plus individual loci to effective total genomic selection. In such a unified model, each region of the genome would be given its appropriate weight in a breeding program. However, the collection of good quality trait information will remain central to the use of these technologies for the foreseeable future.
- Genetic Markers
- Polymorphism, Genetic
- Quantitative Trait, Heritable
- Reproductive Techniques