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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Soybean/maize Germplasm, Pathology, and Genetics Research

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Efficiently and effectively conserve and distribute a comprehensive assemblage of maize genetic stocks and associated information to maize researchers and breeders worldwide. 2) Strategically genotype and phenotype maize genetic stocks for priority traits, and incorporate genotypic and phenotypic data into MaizeGDB, GRIN, and/or other databases.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Our mission is to make natural and induced allelic and chromosomal variations available to the scientific community and to make information about the mutant collection available to researchers. The National Plant Germplasm System provides support to selected genetic stock centers having genetic resources of value to U.S. agricultural interests. The Maize Genetics Cooperation - Stock Center maintains important accessions of morphological and physiological markers, aneuploid material, translocations and inversions that are important tools in biological research. This project will increase the value of the stock collection as genetic tools and confirm the status of novel mutants discovered. Maize mutants have historically been used in gene discovery and will continue to be used in this way. New mapping tools in our collection will allow easier identification of genomic sequence underlying a phenotype. More recently, novel genes are being identified purely by sequence analyses. This will accelerate in the next few years with the release of the maize genome sequence. Identification of the functions for these newly identified genes can be determined by researchers with reverse genetics resources in our collection.

3. Progress Report
13,185 seed samples were supplied in response to 299 requests. 85 requests were received from 24 foreign countries. 5.7 acres of nursery were grown last summer. Moderate temperatures and low plant stress during and following pollination resulted in excellent yields. Plantings were made of donated stocks (Hi27 near-isogenic mutant lines, various Chromosome 9/B Chromosome rearrangements, bsd2-m1, various r1 alleles, various photosynthetic and developmental mutants, recent EMS-induced mutants, DfK10(I), bt2-H2328, rth3-3, and others). Stocks produced from the project "Regulation of Maize Inflorescence Architecture" were grown this past summer. Approximately 300 families of M2 materials were grown to increase seed supplies and recover previously observed mutations. Also, 1642 families M2 EMS materials were grown for adult plant observation. There are also additional sequence indexed lines from the Uniform Mu project. Our curation tools were updated and improved. These tools input our public stock data directly into MaizeGDB to give maize scientists access to up-to-date information about our collection. The tools are also used for our internal database. Maintenance continues on our web site. An additional 486 phenotype–only stocks were sent to the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado for backup. Selected samples from the main collection were also pulled and sent this year. The new greenhouse space in Urbana was used for our fourth winter crop. The space has proven to be excellent for growing material that doesn’t do well under our field conditions. Our new seed storage space presently has 990 seed storage drawers of the 1,584 the room will eventually hold (pending funding).

4. Accomplishments
1. Further characterization of new corn mutants. It is useful to determine if traits of these mutants are due to defects in known genes, or if they are novel traits. We conducted tests on several categories of mutants with similar effects on the corn plant and/or found to be located in a similar position on a chromosome. We identified additional mutant variants of five genes. This summer, we are testing additional mutants with traits that effect kernel germination and yellow pigment intensity. In this manner, we hope to incorporate more stocks from our vast collection of unplaced uncharacterized (phenotype-only) mutants into the main collection of characterized mutants. This will enhance corn biological research and lead to agronomic improvements in this crop plant.

2. Further characterization of a regulatory system of purple kernel color enhancers in corn. We have characterized additional variants of regulatory genes that function to enhance kernel color. These genes regulate pigment synthesis in the corn kernel. This will enhance corn biological research by giving us a greater understanding of gene regulation.

Last Modified: 05/27/2017
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