Plant breeding has been very successful in developing improved varieties using conventional tools and methodologies. Nowadays, the availability of genomic tools and resources is leading to a new revolution of plant breeding, as they facilitate the study of the genotype and its relationship with the phenotype, in particular for complex traits. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies are allowing the mass sequencing of genomes and transcriptomes, which is producing a vast array of genomic information. The analysis of NGS data by means of bioinformatics developments allows discovering new genes and regulatory sequences and their positions, and makes available large collections of molecular markers. Genome-wide expression studies provide breeders with an understanding of the molecular basis of complex traits. Genomic approaches include TILLING and EcoTILLING, which make possible to screen mutant and germplasm collections for allelic variants in target genes. Re-sequencing of genomes is very useful for the genome-wide discovery of markers amenable for high-throughput genotyping platforms, like SSRs and SNPs, or the construction of high density genetic maps. All these tools and resources facilitate studying the genetic diversity, which is important for germplasm management, enhancement and use. Also, they allow the identification of markers linked to genes and QTLs, using a diversity of techniques like bulked segregant analysis (BSA), fine genetic mapping, or association mapping. These new markers are used for marker assisted selection, including marker assisted backcross selection, ‘breeding by design’, or new strategies, like genomic selection. In conclusion, advances in genomics are providing breeders with new tools and methodologies that allow a great leap forward in plant breeding, including the ‘superdomestication’ of crops and the genetic dissection and breeding for complex traits.
Keywords: Bioinformatics, complex traits, genetic maps, marker assisted selection, molecular markers, next-generationsequencing, quantitative trait loci