February 2019

How tGBS-driven genomic selection can help you get to market faster

Plant and animal breeding programs often take generations to improve quality and yield but using a genotyping protocol with targeted sequencing can bring you genetic gains faster. Could your plant- or animal breeding program use a boost?

Applying genomic selection methods to plant and animal breeding shortens cycle times and enables you to analyse more samples in less time, accelerating the genetic gain. 

Using a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach helps bring traits or new varieties to market faster, lowers costs, and increases profitability.

Based on NGS, targeted genotyping by sequencing (targeted GBS) is starting to displace arrays for routine screening in breeding programs. Realising the full benefits of genomic selection means employing a targeted GBS genotyping protocol that can meet your needs in terms of multiplexing level, flexibility and cost-efficiency, while enabling you to carry out de novo SNP discovery, imputation, and much more. Importantly, the time taken from library design to results can be reduced by months. Let’s look at a solution that can make all this possible.

Facing up to the need for mid-plex genotyping

Plant and animal breeders often express a need for genotyping that bridges the gap between low and high multiplexing, with comments like “we need a cost effective way to screen 500–10,000 markers to be able to implement genomic selection and reduce time to market for new varieties.” Or “We are very interested in finding a solution for screening all of our brood stock with several thousand markers cost effectively.” Does this sound familiar?

As we saw in the previous article in this series, the sweet spot for genomic selection is around 1,000–25,000 assays run on approximately 1,000 samples. Being able to apply different levels of multiplexing using the same technology would add efficiency and consistency to your breeding program. Targeted GBS promises to fulfil these unmet needs with an accessible genomic library.

The advantages of using targeted GBS for genomic selection

Let’s briefly summarize the main advantages of using targeted GBS for genomic selection:

  • Flexible and scalable marker strategy: Unlike arrays, with their fixed marker density and composition, targeted GBS methodology has the flexibility necessary for genomic selection. It can support the screening of up to 100,000 markers per sample, and still function efficiently for 500 to 25,000 markers. Additionally, oligo libraries for targeted GBS are in solution, which means that markers can be easily added to previously designed panels by adding in new oligonucleotides to the library.
  • Cost efficiency: NGS enables the multiplexing of thousands of samples for targeted GBS. Moreover, future developments in NGS can be expected to increase throughput and reduce costs of targeted GBS methods. Added to that, highly efficient enrichment methods can reduce day-to-day operation costs even further.
  • Staying on target: Capture and sequencing to target the regions of interest significantly reduces the cost of sequencing and data analysis compared to whole genome sequencing.
  • Maximizing gains from imputation: targeted GBS delivers high-quality data to support accurate and informative imputation that makes breeding strategies cost effective.
  • Turnaround times that fit into the breeding cycle: targeted GBS enables a turnaround time of less than two weeks in the wet lab, plus no more than six weeks to design a new oligonucleotide library. This readily fits into a plant breeding cycle and can save years of development time.
  • Discover de novo variants: targeted GBS enables the discovery of new SNPs and structural variants in flanking sequences of targeted SNPs, which increases the power of genomic selection.

The question is how can these benefits be realised in the best possible way?

Fill the mid-plex genotyping gap

Our partners in the plant, livestock and aquaculture industries have helped us to understand the needs of real world breeding programs and the gap that exists in mid-plex genotyping. The result is SeqSNP, our NGS-based targeted GBS service that can help you to fully exploit the benefits of genomic selection. SeqSNP is also very suitable for marker-assisted selection/breeding (MAS/MAB), marker-assisted back crossing (MABC), QTL screening and trait mapping. To learn more about SeqSNP, contact us or request a quote here.

About the author: Darshna 'Dusty' Vyas

Dusty has been with LGC for the last 6 years working as a plant genetics specialist.

Her career began at the James Hutton Institute, formerly the Scottish Crop Research Institute, developing molecular markers for disease resistance in raspberries. From there Dusty moved on to Biogemma UK Ltd for a period of 13 years, where she worked primarily with cereal crops such as wheat, maize and barley. Through her participation in the Artemisia Project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at York University, she gained a vast understanding of the requirements by breeders for varietal development using molecular markers in MAS.

Dusty's goal is to further breeding programs for global agricultural sustainability using high throughput methods such as SeqSNP.