Genomic background selection to reduce the mutation load after random mutagenesis
Random mutagenesis is a standard procedure to increase allelic variation in a crop species, especially in countries where the use of genetically modified crops is limited due to legal constraints. The chemical mutagen EMS is used in many species to induce random mutations throughout the genome with high mutation density. The major drawback for functional analysis is a high background mutation load in a single plant that must be eliminated by subsequent backcrossing, a time and resource-intensive activity. Here, we demonstrate that genomic background selection combined with marker-assisted selection is an efficient way to select individuals with reduced background mutations within a short period. We identified BC1 plants with a significantly higher share of the recurrent parent genome, thus saving one backcross generation. Furthermore, spring rapeseed as the recurrent parent in a backcrossing program could accelerate breeding by reducing the generation cycle. Our study depicts the potential for reducing the background mutation load while accelerating the generation cycle in EMS-induced winter oilseed rape populations by integrating genomic background selection.