Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Corn is extremely important to the U.S. economy, but there are concern's about its genetic vulnerability. The Latin American Maize Project (LAMP) involved the cooperative efforts of 12 countries to evaluate their native maize germplasm accessions. To be useful, the selected accessions need to be enhanced before being used in hybrid breeding programs. A cooperative effort among public and private sectors, the Germplasm Enhancement of Maiz project (GEM) project, was organized to provide to the corn industry germplasm developed by enhancing useful exotic germplasm, with the ultimate aim of improving and broadening the germplasm base of corn hybrids grown by farmers. Traits targeted for improvement are agronomic productivity, disease and insect resistance, and value-added characteristics. GEM provides social returns (agricultural diversity) to justify its public support, and the potential for private returns to justify private participation. GEM's success can be attributed to the following factors: federal leadership, collaboration between the public and private sectors, in-kind support from the private sector, emphasis on good communication, well-defined intellectual property rights, trust, and use of only the best exotic and adapted germplasm. In addition, the project will provide continuous release of improved lines and synthetics. Our enhanced germplasm has good yield, improved levels of resistance to disease and insect pests, and improved quality traits.