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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GERMPLASM ENHANCEMENT OF MAIZE (GEM)

Location: Plant Science Research

2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The long term objective of this project is to diversify the genetic base of maize in the United States by the addition of new genes from exotic maize that will improve agronomic productivity, disease resistance, and insect resistance, and contribute value-added grain characteristics, including total extractable starch to support ethanol production.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Manage GEM field nurseries, seed inventories, and germplasm exchange so that new sources of germplasm and information reach stakeholders annually. With the GEM Project Technical Steering Group (TSG), identify and acquire new sources of exotic maize germplasm for breeding and diversity assessment projects. Conduct cooperative maize germplasm evaluations for host-plant resistance to gray leaf spot, southern corn leaf blight, northern leaf blight, and fumonisin production. Develop advanced maize breeding families, derived from non-U.S. and U.S. sources which are selected for wide adaptation to U.S. conditions.


3.Progress Report
One hundred and one entries (out of almost 750 tested) have been advanced in the summer nursery based on first-generation trials in 2007, and 30 entries (out of 107 tested) were advanced from first-year second-generation trials to second-year second-generation trials. In 2008, 11,600 plots were coordinated through Raleigh (almost 4,300 planted at North Carolina State locations). Approximately 2600 nursery rows and almost 1600 isolation block rows were planted in 2008 at Raleigh. Nursery work involves 15 new breeding crosses. In 2006, the effort to evaluate breeding crosses for yield per se was continued as part of an overall effort to evaluate new material. Data from these studies continue to reveal a great spread in yield potential, and those results heavily influenced our choices for 2008 nursery work. Disease evaluation continues in 2008 for Gray Leaf Spot, where advanced materials are evaluated at three locations in North Carolina. Also, we have continued routine screening of available tropical lines, as so little data are available to choose among them for use, and eight have been recommended for use in development of new breeding crosses. This work is related to Problem Statement 3B Capitalizing on Untapped Genetic Diversity in Component 3 Genetic Improvement of Crops, of the National Program 301 Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetics Improvement.

Over 400 nursery rows in Raleigh (and an additional 120 rows in Columbia, Missouri) are devoted to the Allelic Diversity study, which involves accessions that are outside the core plant breeding materials utilized and most plant breeding organizations. These represent new F1 hybrids from about 75 accessions. The initial steps of the project are coordinated from Raleigh, and the latter steps through Ames, IA. The F1’s were produced last winter by Syngenta and Pioneer, using PHB47 and PHZ51 as ex-Plant Varieties Protection (PVP) parents. Backcrosses to the ex-PVP lines are being made this summer in Raleigh (and in Columbia, Missouri), while 800 rows of BC1’s produced in Raleigh last summer have been planted in Ames, Iowa and Pioneer two locations in Illinois. This work is related to Problem Statement 2C Genetic Analyses and Mapping of Important Traits in Component 2 Croby p Informatics, Genomics, and Genetic Analyses, of the National Program 301 Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetics Improvement.

This project replaces Project #21220-010-00D which terminated on 7/31/2008.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings2

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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