GERMPLASM ENHANCEMENT OF MAIZE PROJECT (GEM)
Location: North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa
Title: GEM – Meeting the Challenge of Maize Diversification by Capturing Useful Alleles and Traits from Exotic Germplasm
Submitted to: Maize Genetics Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 28, 2011
Publication Date: March 17, 2011
Citation: Gardner, C.A., Blanco, M.H., Krakowsky, M.D., Goodman, M., Marshall, D.S., Smelser, A.D., Engstrom, F., Shen, N. 2011. GEM – Meeting the Challenge of Maize Diversification by Capturing Useful Alleles and Traits from Exotic Germplasm [abstract]. Maize Genetics Conference Abstracts. Abstract P221.
The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) Project was conceived as a public and private research partnership dedicated to diversifying the genetic base of U.S. maize production. It is coordinated by USDA-ARS and university personnel located at Iowa State University and North Carolina State University. Working with unadapted germplasm presents serious challenges, including photoperiod sensitivity, standability and other agronomic issues, and severe defects resulting from inbreeding depression. These issues make it difficult for traditional, conventional breeding programs with short cycle times to adapt exotic germplasm and derive lines that can be used effectively in commercial breeding programs. GEM industry cooperators provide private sector germplasm used to introgress exotic germplasm via a standard protocol. Public and private sector researchers share responsibility for breeding and testing activities. Short daylength is necessary to accomplish many initial breeding crosses, and photoperiod control structures or tropical winter nursery locations are used to facilitate these efforts. Phenological, agronomic, disease and insect resistance, and grain composition or quality trait research results are processed by the coordinating personnel and publicly shared. In collaboration with the Iowa State Doubled Haploid Facility (http://www.plantbreeding.iastate.edu/DHF/DHF.htm), dihaploid lines are generated in addition to conventionally generated GEM Project lines to provide a set of adapted lines representative of the races of maize. These lines (235 releases to date) provide a rich resource for an array of modern research and development objectives. Project information can be found at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~usda-gem/.