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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 555: II International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae

THE NEW TOOLS OF THE TRADE: USING COMPUTERS IN COMMERCIAL BREEDING PROGRAMS

Author:   R. Jones
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2001.555.33
Abstract:
Modern computer hardware and software have revolutionized many of our daily activities in much of the world. At Asgrow Vegetable Seeds, we have adapted this technology to improve our ability to manage our onion and carrot breeding research programs. When we began to apply this technology, our initial objective was to develop standard statistical analyses (ANOVA) of replicated variety trials in order to help identify superior new experimental varieties for advancement to commercial status. In addition to tests of single trials, we developed programs to analyze performance of varieties across sites and years. These results provide estimates of how stable and widely adapted a new variety will be. In order for these complex analyses to be meaningful, we developed a database that enforced uniform record keeping and planned trial development. Although the final product of a commercial breeding program is a new variety, there are many activities involved in the process. We have found that computers enhance our ability to manage a large breeding program by greatly reducing the time involved in record transcription and by eliminating transcription errors, by allowing easily generated reports, and by facilitating the breeder’s ability to manipulate data in order to make informed decisions. Another tool that can contribute to the efficiency of the breeder is the handheld electronic datalogger. We have developed electronic data collection of field observations with programmed uploading and downloading to and from the database. We have developed the use of barcode labels, electronic scales, and dataloggers for the management of seed inventories. Throughout the development of our program, we have focused our efforts to develop a system that would be both powerful and relatively easy to use.
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