The Smith Lab focuses on a number of different research topics, specifically genomic selection, gene mapping, and germplasm diversity.
Genomic selection (GS) relies on the use of polymorphic DNA markers across the genome - usually SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms - to predict the performance of breeding lines. A training population that has been genotyped and phenotyped is used to train a statistical model and to derive the effect of those polymorphic markers. These marker effects are then used on a candidate set of lines that have only been genotyped.
Our lab uses GS heavily in the breeding program, while simultaneously posing hypothesis-driven research questions about this technique. Current research in this topic is focused on six-row spring barley (investigating GS training optimization), six-row winter barley (improving winter hardiness), and two-row spring barley (exploring GS and genotype-by-environment interactions).