Introduction

Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is the process of using the results of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests to assist in the selection of individuals to become the parents in the next generation of a genetic improvement program. The term marker refers to a location in the genome at which a specific difference in DNA sequence has been associated with an effect on the trait of interest. The word assisted implies that the selection is also influenced by other sources of information, such as phenotypes (observed or measured value) of the individuals and, in many cases, phenotypes of relatives of the individuals (which requires pedigree information). Selection methods based only on phenotypes (and optionally) pedigree will be referred to as traditional methods of selection. The additional information provided by the DNA test results should improve the accuracy of evaluating the genetic merit of the individuals in the population, and hence, should improve the rate of response to selection.

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