Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Crop Sci. 45:1978–1984 (2005).


U.S. Government Work


Early generation selection experiments typically involve several hundred to thousands of lines. Various systematic and statistical techniques have been developed to increase effectiveness and efficiencies in such experiments, including the development and application of spatial statistical models. In this study, mixed model equations were used to provide least squares means (LSMEANs) and best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) and compare selection effectiveness and efficiencies to observed (Y) and true values in simulated experiments varying in size (10 X 10, 20 X 20 and 30 X 30 grids), control plots densities (0, 5, 10, 20, and 50%), control plot arrangements (high, medium, and low A-optimality), and spatial range of influence (short and long). Results were similar for all grid sizes. In experiments in which the simulated land areas were highly variable (short range), none of the predictors, Y, LSMEAN, or BLUP, were very effective in identifying the true superior genotypes. When the simulated land areas were less variable (long range), use of BLUPs consistently resulted in the highest proportion of true top ranking genotypes identified across all control plot densities, while using the observed values consistently resulted in identification of the lowest proportion of the true top ranking genotypes. Effectiveness of LSMEANs was dependent on control plot density and arrangements.Use of BLUPs for early generation germplasm screening experiments should result in a high effectiveness in selecting truly superior germplasm and high efficiency because of the ability to account for spatial variability with the use of few or no control plots.