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Article|23 Mar 2016|OPEN
Cost and accuracy of advanced breeding trial designs in apple
Julia M Harshman1 , , Kate M Evans1 and Craig M Hardner,2
1Department of Horticulture, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA
2Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 3,
Article number: 8 (2016)
Views: 705

Received: 20 Jan 2016
Revised: 15 Feb 2016
Accepted: 17 Feb 2016
Published online: 23 Mar 2016


Trialing advanced candidates in tree fruit crops is expensive due to the long-term nature of the planting and labor-intensive evaluations required to make selection decisions. How closely the trait evaluations approximate the true trait value needs balancing with the cost of the program. Designs of field trials of advanced apple candidates in which reduced number of locations, the number of years and the number of harvests per year were modeled to investigate the effect on the cost and accuracy in an operational breeding program. The aim was to find designs that would allow evaluation of the most additional candidates while sacrificing the least accuracy. Critical percentage difference, response to selection, and correlated response were used to examine changes in accuracy of trait evaluations. For the quality traits evaluated, accuracy and response to selection were not substantially reduced for most trial designs. Risk management influences the decision to change trial design, and some designs had greater risk associated with them. Balancing cost and accuracy with risk yields valuable insight into advanced breeding trial design. The methods outlined in this analysis would be well suited to other horticultural crop breeding programs.