Location: Corn Host Plant Resistance ResearchTitle: Molecular marker-assisted breeding for maize improvement in Asia Author
Submitted to: Molecular Breeding
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/31/2009
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Prasanna, B.M., Pixley, K., Warburton, M.L., Xie, C. 2010. Molecular marker-assisted breeding for maize improvement in Asia. Molecular Breeding. 26:339-356. Interpretive Summary: Maize has become one of the most important food and feed crops in Asia. Maize improvement targeted to Asia is done by both public and private sector scientists, but has moved slowly compared to Europe and the Americas. In this article, we present the current status and prospects for integrating biotechnology into maize breeding for Asia. Highlights from the public sector and a survey from private industry provide real data on current biotech use in Asian maize improvement. This will highlight where new tools that are not currently being fully exploited and that can make Asian maize plant breeding more efficient.
Technical Abstract: Maize is one of the most important food and feed crops in Asia, and is a source of income for several million farmers. Despite impressive progress made in the last few decades through conventional breeding in the “Asia-7” (China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), average maize yields remain low and the demand is expected to increasingly exceed the production in the coming years. Molecular marker-assisted breeding is accelerating yield gains in USA and elsewhere, and offers tremendous potential for enhancing the productivity and value of Asian maize germplasm. We discuss the importance of molecular breeding efforts in meeting the growing demand for maize in Asia, and provide examples of the recent use of molecular markers with respect to (i) DNA fingerprinting and genetic diversity analysis of maize germplasm (inbreds and landraces/OPVs), (ii) QTL analysis of important biotic and abiotic stresses, and (iii) MAS for maize improvement. We also highlight the constraints faced by research institutions wishing to adopt the available and emerging molecular technologies, and conclude that innovative models for resource-pooling and intellectual-property-respecting partnerships will be required for enhancing the level and scope of molecular breeding for maize improvement in Asia. Scientists must ensure that the tools of molecular breeding are focused on developing commercially viable cultivars, improved to ameliorate the most important constraints to maize production in Asia.