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How to Calculate Optimum Family Number When Starting a Breeding Program

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Methods were developed to calculate the optimum number of initial unrelated families (equivalent to founders) in a breeding program, which, following selection in a predetermined way, would result in the maximum gain. The required entries were: (1) effective population size (effective family number) after selection, (2) family type (half-sib or full-sib), (3) heritability, (4) number of selections, (5) available resources, and (6) cost per additional family in the initial population. Suggestions of optimum family numbers and other characteristics of the optimum were calculated for particular examples. It seemed important to consider cost components when planning breeding programs. The optimum initial family number was far greater than the intended effective family number when the marginal cost of adding initial families was low. If this cost was high, it was worth investing more than half of any fixed resources in obtaining many families. The value of heritability appeared rather unimportant. For. Sci. 43(2):206-212.

Keywords: Genetic gain; cost; effective population size; heritability; selection

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Project Leader for genetic testing with the Tree Improvement Branch of the Forestry Commission Research Division, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9SY, United Kingdom

Publication date: 1997-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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