Important crops for marginal environments of Africa, Asia and South America are often referred to as 'orphan crops'. Breeding for orphan crops is lagging behind major crops although they are key staple crops in many low-income countries where small-holder farmers cannot afford to buy improved seed. This article provides a short overview of both the potential and the challenges in implementing genomics-assisted breeding in orphan crops. Additionally, it presents a critical appraisal of the application of association mapping or genome-wide association studies (GWAS), marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) and genomic selection (GS) in improving grain yield of orphan crops in developing countries.
Varshney, R.K.; Ribaut, J.M.; Buckler, E.S.; Tuberosa, R.; Rafalski, J.A.; Langridge, P. Can genomics boost productivity of orphan crops? Nature Biotechnology (2012) 30 (12) 1172-1176. [DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2440]