Maximising whole-of-industry benefits from the Australian sugarcane improvement program through an optimal genetic evaluation system
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An optimal genetic evaluation system (GES) is the backbone of any breeding program because maximising genetic gains is primarily a matter of efficient selection. A GES provides information to breeders about which individuals should be selected as parents for crossing and which ones should be selected for commercial production.At the commencement of this project, selection of both parents and clones for commercial production was principally based on the index knows as net merit grade (NMG). NMG is based on the performance of a test clone (or a cross) relative to the average of a number of commercial varieties (or corsses) for the traits of commercial cane sugar (CCS), tonnes of cane per hectare (TCH), appearance grade and fibre content. NMG was used to generate a breeding code for selecting parental clones for crossing. Cross ratio, a measure of each cross's performance relative to the whole population at each selection stage, was used to determine priority of crosses. For selecting elite clones to be retained for further testing, NMG was used in all three selection stages to determine which clones would be advanced to next stage.