David CROS

David Cros                                   

David Cros  CIRAD 


Oil palm geneticist (Yaoundé, Cameroun, 2015-current)   

Oil palm geneticist (Montpellier, France, 2011-2015)  

Oil palm breeder/Geneticist (Pobè, Benin, 2006-2011)          



My researches primarily focus on breeding methodologies in order to maximize the genetic gain. I am mostly interested in quantitative genetics, genomics and statistics applied to oil palm and rubber tree breeding. 

I am based at the African Center of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (CETIC), a training and research center created within the National Advanced School of Engineering of the University of Yaoundé 1 and funded by the World Bank.



Congratulation to Achille Nyouma for his travel grant to the Plant and Animal Genome 2020 (San Diego, CA).

From mass selection to genomic selection: one century of breeding for quantitative yield components of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) (first online 2019, Aug. 15 in Tree Genetics & Genomes)

Within-family genomic selection in rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) increases genetic gain for rubber production (published 2019, June 27 in Industrial Crops and Products)


***PhD studies (2011 - 2014): Factors controling the efficiency of genomic selection in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis)


Agricultural production must increase at an unprecedented rate to meet the strong growth expected in food demand. Genomic selection (GS) could contribute to reaching this goal by allowing selection of individuals on their sole genotype, making breeding more efficient. Breeding for yield in oil palm, the first oil crop in the world, is currently based on hybrid production by reciprocal recurrent selection. The integration of GS to this scheme would have major repercussions. My thesis aimed to assess the potential of GS to predict hybrid combining abilities in parental populations (Deli and group B).

Data from the last breeding cycle were used to obtain the first empirical estimate of GS accuracy. Despite the small populations available to calibrate the genomic model, the study showed that with candidates related to the training population (sibs, progenies), the accuracy was sufficient to make a pre-selection in the group B on some yield components. In addition, simulations over four generations showed that the accuracy of several GS strategies (especially when training the model only in the first generation using hybrid genotypes) was high enough for non progeny tested individuals to allow selecting among them on their genotype. This resulted in an increase of more than 50% of annual genetic gain compared to traditional breeding. A faster increase in inbreeding was also demonstrated, but this could be limited by conventional methods of inbreeding management. Finally, the experimental and simulated data indicated that GS could reduce the average generation interval and increase the selection intensity, vastly speeding up the genetic progress for oil palm yield. The results led to suggest a recurrent reciprocal genomic selection scheme for oil palm.

[quantitative genetics, computer simulation, oil palm breeding, genomic selection]




In the lab


Artificial pollination in oil palm


Oil palm dry seeds

Website Map:

          - PhD thesis (pdf) and PhD defense (video)

          - Powerpoints of conference talks

          - Pictures, posters & animations on oil palm breeding

          - MOLCOANC software (pedigree reconstruction)



See list of main publications on CIRAD website or Google Scholar (and full list here)



David Cros

CIRAD, Direction Régionale Afrique Centrale
Rue Joseph Essono Balla, BP 2572
Tel.: +237 222 212 541 

Department: Biological Systems
Research unit: UMR AGAP (Genetic improvement and adaptation of mediterranean and tropical plants)
Team: Genome and selection


Group picture at UY1

From left to right: Achille NYOUMA (PhD student), Norman MUNYENGWA (M2 student), David CROS, Essubalew GETACHEW (PhD student), Billy TCHOUNKE (PhD student), Oct. 31 2019University of Yaoundé 1


















Related links:

       Official statistics for oil palm production:



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