Recent advances in artificial intelligence, mechanistic models, and speed breeding offer exciting opportunities for precise and accelerated genomics-assisted breeding

Javaid Akhter Bhat, Xianzhong Feng, Zahoor A. Mir, Aamir Raina, Kadambot H.M. Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Given the challenges of population growth and climate change, there is an urgent need to expedite the development of high-yielding stress-tolerant crop cultivars. While traditional breeding methods have been instrumental in ensuring global food security, their efficiency, precision, and labour intensiveness have become increasingly inadequate to address present and future challenges. Fortunately, recent advances in high-throughput phenomics and genomics-assisted breeding (GAB) provide a promising platform for enhancing crop cultivars with greater efficiency. However, several obstacles must be overcome to optimize the use of these techniques in crop improvement, such as the complexity of phenotypic analysis of big image data. In addition, the prevalent use of linear models in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and genomic selection (GS) fails to capture the nonlinear interactions of complex traits, limiting their applicability for GAB and impeding crop improvement. Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have opened doors to nonlinear modelling approaches in crop breeding, enabling the capture of nonlinear and epistatic interactions in GWAS and GS and thus making this variation available for GAB. While statistical and software challenges persist in AI-based models, they are expected to be resolved soon. Furthermore, recent advances in speed breeding have significantly reduced the time (3–5-fold) required for conventional breeding. Thus, integrating speed breeding with AI and GAB could improve crop cultivar development within a considerably shorter timeframe while ensuring greater accuracy and efficiency. In conclusion, this integrated approach could revolutionize crop breeding paradigms and safeguard food production in the face of population growth and climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13969
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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