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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Genetics and Breeding Research » Research » Research Project #434515

Research Project: Pyramiding Corn Resistance to Aspergillus flavus, Aflatoxin Contamination, and Ear-feeding Insects through Selection, Breeding and Biotechnology

Location: Crop Genetics and Breeding Research

Project Number: 6048-21000-028-03-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2018
End Date: Jun 30, 2020

Objective:
(1) Continue evaluation and selection of inbred lines with tropical and sub-tropical germplasm for pyramiding and improvement of resistance and drought tolerance. (2) Field evaluation of the nearly finished inbred lines such as Syn AM1(P43) and TUN61 for hybrid development and in preparation for release. (3) Laboratory and greenhouse studies to understand Aspergillus flavus, aflatoxin production and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their possible role in defense signaling in maize-Aspergillus flavus interactions by whole genome re-sequencing 11 isolates of A. flavus and 4 corn inbred lines, and through overexpression of antioxidant genes in maize using genetic engineering.

Approach:
Selected lines by visual and laboratory tests are grown in the Winter and Summer Nurseries for additional generation and recombination, and the best lines are also selfed for inbred selection. Improvement of 5 synthetic populations to combine resistance to ear-feeding and aflatoxin formation is an effort of annual continuation. Several lines have been selfed from each year-cycle. These populations were derived from the best lines for aflatoxin in the U.S. and subtropical and tropical germplasm from CIMMYT. Several inbred lines have been advanced for early testing, and will be ready for release such as SynAM1 (P43) and TUN61. The goal is to develop and release “southern-type” corn with good husk coverage, drought tolerance, and insect and aflatoxin resistance with acceptable yield. In 2018, whole genome re-sequencing will be conducted for 11 isolates of Aspergillus (A.) flavus and 4 corn inbred lines and initiating overexpression of antioxidant genes in maize using genetic engineering.