Computer simulation was used to compare the effectiveness of directional selection using a subdivide-merge type of breeding scheme with a single large undivided mass selected population in the presence of known multiple peak epistasis. The selected breeding structure very closely followed that investigated by Madelena and Hill (1972) in their evaluation of non-epistatic models. For the model used the subdivide-merge scheme was shown to be superior to the large mass selected population, both in the long and short term, within the range of allelic frequencies investigated in the model. The response to selection in both the subdivided and large populations was markedly influenced by initial linkage disequilibrium and close linkage. Negative genetic phase imbalance reduced (or reversed in some cases) the advantage gained by the subdivide-merge scheme. Positive disequilibrium slightly enhanced the subpopulation advantage. Simulation with mixed models (both dominant and multiple peak loci) showed an increasing advantage for the large, undivided population. In practical breeding terms, given the lack of direct experimemtal evidence for multiple peak epistasis as a major mode of gene action, and the possible negative effects of inbreeding in the small sublines, the single large, mass selected population still appears to be of greater overall utility.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XII. Biotechnology, selection experiments, parameter estimation, design of breeding systems, management of genetic resources., , 283–294, 1986
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