Genome-wide mapping approaches in diverse populations are powerful tools to unravel the genetic architecture of complex traits. The main goals of our study were to investigate the potential and limits to unravel the genetic architecture and to identify the factors determining the accuracy of prediction of the genotypic variation of Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) based on data collected with a diverse panel of 372 European varieties. The wheat lines were phenotyped in multi-location field trials for FHB resistance and genotyped with 782 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, and 9k and 90k single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. We applied genome-wide association mapping in combination with fivefold cross-validations and observed surprisingly high accuracies of prediction for marker-assisted selection based on the detected quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Using a random sample of markers not selected for marker-trait associations revealed only a slight decrease in prediction accuracy compared with marker-based selection exploiting the QTL information. The same picture was confirmed in a simulation study, suggesting that relatedness is a main driver of the accuracy of prediction in marker-assisted selection of FHB resistance. When the accuracy of prediction of three genomic selection models was contrasted for the three marker data sets, no significant differences in accuracies among marker platforms and genomic selection models were observed. Marker density impacted the accuracy of prediction only marginally. Consequently, genomic selection of FHB resistance can be implemented most cost-efficiently based on low- to medium-density SNP arrays.
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