1 GAFL, INRA, Montfavet, France,
2 PSH, INRA, Avignon, France
Process-based models are effective tools to predict the phenotype of an individual in different growing conditions. Combined with a quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approach, it is then possible to predict the behavior of individuals with any combinations of alleles. However the number of simulations to explore the realm of possibilities may become infinite. Therefore, the use of an efficient optimization algorithm to intelligently explore the search space becomes imperative. The optimization algorithm has to solve a multi-objective problem, since the phenotypes of interest are usually a complex of traits, to identify the individuals with best tradeoffs between those traits. In this study we proposed to unroll such a combined approach in the case of peach fruit quality described through three targeted traits, using a process-based model with seven parameters controlled by QTL. We compared a current approach based on the optimization of the values of the parameters with a more evolved way to proceed which consists in the direct optimization of the alleles controlling the parameters. The optimization algorithm has been adapted to deal with both continuous and combinatorial problems. We compared the spaces of parameters obtained with different tactics and the phenotype of the individuals resulting from random simulations and optimization in these spaces. The use of a genetic model enabled the restriction of the dimension of the parameter space toward more feasible combinations of parameter values, reproducing relationships between parameters as observed in a real progeny. The results of this study demonstrated the potential of such an approach to refine the solutions toward more realistic ideotypes. Perspectives of improvement are discussed.