Association of selected traits with visual selection for yield in wheat (Triticum aestivum, L. em Thell.) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/tm70mz80m

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  • Visual selection for grain yield may be a limiting factor in identifying superior yielding genotypes in a breeding program. This investigation was conducted (1) to compare the effectiveness of visual selection for grain yield by three selector groups representing different levels of plant breeding experience, and (2) to examine the association of selected traits with the process of evaluating plots visually for grain yield. The germplasm evaluated consisted of fifty non-segregating, diverse genotypes selected to include a wide range of expression for phenotypic characters. They were grown in solid-seeded, two-row plots with three replications in a randomized block design during 1981-1982. Data were collected on a plot basis for grain yield and twenty-two agronomic traits. Eighteen selectors were placed in three groups comprised of two plant breeders, eight graduate students, and eight summer student workers, respectively, from the Oregon State University cereal breeding program. Evaluations were made on two separate days by scoring each of the 150 plots on a scale of 1 to 5 for grain yield. The plant breeder selectors were the most successful of the three groups in discriminating both high and low yielding plots. The two best graduate student selectors were similar in ability to the plant breeders in scoring plots for high yield, although not in scoring for low yield. The remaining graduate student and summer worker selectors were generally not able to score more low and high yielding plots "correctly" than would be expected if selection were done at random. Considered individually, the most effective selectors failed to select several high yielding plots. However, when selections of the four most effective selectors were combined, only one of the twenty highest yielding plots was omitted. Results comparing trait association with actual plot grain yield and with selector scoring for plot grain yield suggested "biases" for or against certain traits. Biases for later heading and maturing plant types with wide flag leaves were common to all selector groups when visually selecting for high yield, as were earlier heading and maturing entries with narrower flag leaves when selecting for low yield. The plant breeder selectors were notable for lack of trait biases relative to other selector groups. In contrast, the summer worker selectors tended to overemphasize several spike characteristics whether selecting for high or low yield. Results suggested several other trait biases of individual selectors and selector groups.
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