Submitted to: Corn Breeders School Illinois
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2005
Publication Date: 3/7/2005
Citation: Blanco, M.H., Gardner, C.A., Salhuana, W., Shen, N. 2005. Germplasm Enhancement of Maize project (GEM). Proceedings 41st Annual Illinois Corn Breeding School. p. 22-41.
Technical Abstract: The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize Project (GEM) is a cooperative effort of the USDA-ARS, land grant universities, private industry, international, and non-governmental organizations to collectively pool their efforts to broaden the germplasm base through collective efforts of plant breeding, testing, lab analysis, and disease and insect evaluations. The GEM Project has two USDA-ARS breeding and testing locations; Ames, Iowa and Raleigh, NC. The predecessor of GEM was the Latin American Maize Project (LAMP) which identified 268 potential sources of elite exotic germplasm from over 12,000 accessions evaluated. The LAMP accessions provided the starting base of GEM germplasm. Approximately twenty companies (GEM Cooperators) provide elite adapted germplasm by crossing their lines with the exotic accessions, and continue 'in kind support' efforts of development through pedigree breeding methods, and wide scale trials for yield, disease, and pest evaluation. Public cooperator support is provided through funded Specific Cooperator Agreements (SCA) designed to address priority research targets and methodology research. Important target traits include resistance to abiotic stresses, mycotoxin resistance, value added trait (VAT) research for grain and silage, and disease and insect resistance. GEM derived lines have resulted in the public release of 7 lines from cooperators in Iowa, Delaware, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. Attributes of these lines include a unique source of European corn borer resistance, stress tolerance, grey leafspot resistance, high protein, and silage yield/quality. Research in 2004 resulted in the release of nine lines developed in Ames, and seven lines from Raleigh that are available to GEM cooperators for spring 2005. Public GEM cooperators in 2003-4 identified ten lines with unique starch thermal properties, four lines with above average aflatoxin resistance, and six breeding crosses with above average corn rootworm resistance. Increased usage of adapted exotic germplasm should result in broadening the germplasm base, and the germplasm will support genomic discovery.