Genomics and molecular markers provide new tools to assemble and mobilize important traits from different genetic backgrounds, including breeding lines and cultivars from different parts of the world and their related wild ancestors, to improve the quality and yield of the existing commercial cultivars to meet the increasing challenges of global food demand. The basic techniques of marker-assisted breeding, such as isolating DNA, amplifying DNA of interest using publicly available primers, and visualizing DNA fragments using standard polyacrylamid gel, have been described in the literature and, therefore, are available to scientists and breeders without any restrictions. A more sophisticated highthroughput system that includes proprietary chemicals and reagents, parts and equipments, software, and methods or processes, has been a subject of intensive patents and trade secrets. The high-throughput systems offer a more efficient way to discover associated QTLs for traits of economic importance. Therefore, an increasing number of patents of highly valued genes and QTLs is expected. This paper will discuss and review current patents associated with genes and QTLs utilized in marker-assisted breeding in major grain crops. The availability of molecular markers for important agronomic traits combined with more efficient marker detection systems will help reach the full benefit of MAS in the breeding effort to reassemble potential genes and recapture critical genes among the breeding lines that were lost during domestication to help boost crop production worldwide.
Keywords: Marker-assisted selection, quantitative trait loci, microsatellite marker, single nucleotide polymorphism, genome scanning, high-throughput marker analysis, statistical tools, SNP chips, gene pyramiding, QTL mapping