Multi-trait genomic prediction models can be used to predict labor-intensive or expensive correlated traits where phenotyping depth of correlated traits could be larger than phenotyping depth of targeted traits, reducing resources and improving prediction accuracy.

This is particularly important in the context of allocating phenotyping resource in plant breeding programs. The objective of this work was to evaluate multi-trait models predictive ability with different depth of phenotypic information from correlated traits. We evaluated 495 wheat advanced breeding lines for eight baking quality traits which were genotyped with genotyping-by-sequencing. Through different approaches for cross-validation, we evaluated the predictive ability of a single-trait model and a multi-trait model. Moreover, we evaluated different sizes of the training population (from 50 to 396 individuals) for the trait of interest, different depth of phenotypic information for correlated traits (50 and 100%) and the number of correlated traits to be used (one to three). There was no loss in the predictive ability by reducing the training population up to a 30% (149 individuals) when using correlated traits. A multi-trait model with one highly correlated trait phenotyped for both the training and testing sets was the best model considering phenotyping resources and the gain in predictive ability. The inclusion of correlated traits in the training and testing lines is a strategic approach to replace phenotyping of labor-intensive and high cost traits in a breeding program.






Fig. 2

Principal component analysis for the eight baking bread quality traits where the total phenotypic variance explained by each principal component is indicated