Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research
Project Number: 5030-21000-060-01
Start Date: Apr 01, 2011
End Date: Mar 31, 2016
Increasing the resiliency and sustainability of crop production requires approaches that harness genetic diversity to adapt plants to existing and future environmental challenges. Tropical maize possesses significantly greater genetic variation than U.S. maize and harbors favorable alleles for numerous traits that are absent from U.S. maize that will be important for adapting to climate change. The search for favorable alleles for maize productivity under abiotic stress and emerging pathogens will require meaningful phenotypic evaluation of tropical diversity in the temperate target environments where maize is produced. This proposal leverages contemporary conventional breeding techniques combined with technologies that utilize recent advances in genomic sequence information to develop new plant varieties. It addresses core issues related to access and use of novel genetic diversity and will directly facilitate crop improvement by increasing knowledge of adaptation and response to selection. The interdisciplinary team will conduct Association-Selection Mapping studies across 10 environments in North America, test ecogeographic consequences of photoperiod and temperature during artificial selection, and identify alleles that can mitigate the photoperiod-response problem faced by corn breeders.