Overview and Objectives - Advanced Backcross Breeding


This lesson explains the importance of the backcross method in the development of improved crop varieties. The theory behind the method, plus its strengths, weaknesses and requirements will be discussed.


At the completion of this lesson you will be able to:

  • List the requirements of a successful backcrossing program.
  • Explain how to move a single gene from one variety to another.
  • Describe how two or more genes can be backcrossed into cultivars.
  • Discuss both the strengths and limitations of the backcrossing method.
  • Outline the importance of backcrossing in the development of transgenic crops.
  • Explain two reasons why backcross breeding is done.
  • Discuss how the backcrossing process for a dominant gene is different than that of a recessive gene.
  • Calculate the following:
    1. the percentage of non-target genes from the donor parent
    2. homozygosity of the progeny in a generation
    3. the probability of eliminating an undesirable linked allele to the gene of interest while backcrossing

Copyright 2023

The development of this lesson in 2000 was supported in part by Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service, U.S. Dept of Agriculture under Agreement Number 98-EATP-1-0403 administered by Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Updates completed by P. Stephen Baenziger in 2023 with the help of McKinzie Sutter.