Abstract Motivation Interaction between the genotype and the environment (G×E) has a strong impact on the yield of major crop plants. Although influential, taking G×E explicitly into account in plant breeding has remained difficult. Recently G×E has been predicted from environmental and genomic covariates, but existing works have not shown that generalization to new environments and years without access to in-season data is possible and practical applicability remains unclear. Using data from a Barley breeding program in Finland, we construct an in-silico experiment to study the viability of G×E prediction under practical constraints. Results We show that the response to the environment of a new generation of untested Barley cultivars can be predicted in new locations and years using genomic data, machine learning and historical weather observations for the new locations. Our results highlight the need for models of G×E: non-linear effects clearly dominate linear ones and the interaction between the soil type and daily rain is identified as the main driver for G×E for Barley in Finland. Our study implies that genomic selection can be used to capture the yield potential in G×E effects for future growth seasons, providing a possible means to achieve yield improvements, needed for feeding the growing population. Availability The data accompanied by the method code (http://research.cs.aalto.fi/pml/software/gxe/bioinformatics_codes.zip) is available in the form of kernels to allow reproducing the results. Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. This content is only available as a PDF. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Bioinformatics – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 10, 17
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