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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Breeding for Grain Quality Traits

Authors
item Pollak, Linda
item Scott, Marvin

Submitted to: Maydica
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: August 5, 2005
Publication Date: July 25, 2006
Citation: Pollak, L.M., Scott, M.P. 2006. Breeding for grain quality traits. Maydica. 50:247-257.

Interpretive Summary: Plant breeding has been extremely successful at improving the yield of maize. Grain quality has received less attention, however, important advances have been made by breeders in this area as well. Breeding for grain quality results in grain that is better suited to the various end uses of maize. Maize with improved amino acid balance allows animal feed to be produced at a lower cost. Maize with altered fatty acid composition allows production of healthier vegetable oil. Maize with altered starch properties allows improvement of many products that rely on starch based gels, films and adhesives. This review provides scientists who are interested in grain quality a resource that gives an overview of the field and references to consult for more detailed information.

Technical Abstract: The major components of maize are protein, oil and starch. Breeders have successfully manipulating these components for more than a century, resulting in maize with a wide range of compositions. Over the last fifty years, advances in biochemistry and genetics have allowed manipulation of fractions within these main grain components and these efforts have resulted in grain that is better suited to it's various end uses. Amino acid balance, fatty acid composition and starch physical properties are important targets for modification because they impact the value of grain for animal feed, human health and industrial applications respectively. The most widely used approach has been to use mutants that impact these traits, however, quantitative genetic approaches have generally been successful when applied in long-term breeding programs. The most successful approaches involve elements of both quantitative genetics and the use of mutants, for example the development of QPM based on the o2 mutant with selection for improved kernel types and the development of high amylose maize based on the ae mutation with selection for increased amylose.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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