Submitted to: Illinois Corn Breeders School Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/25/2014
Publication Date: 3/3/2014
Citation: Blanco, M.H., Gardner, C.A. 2014. Germplasm Enhancement of Maize - Strategies & Synergy with Maize Curation. In: Proceedings of the Illinois Corn Breeders School, March 3, 2014, Urbana, Illinois. p. 1-23.
Technical Abstract: The importance of access to and utilization of genetic plant resources for improvement of modern cultivars is widely recognized. Industry recognized the challenges of incorporating diversity into their elite breeding pools because of lack of adaptation and undesirable agronomic traits associated with exotic maize germplasm, the time required to extract valuable material, and the rapid nature of breeding cycles in commercial programs. At the conclusion of the Latin American Maize Project (LAMP) project, US participants pursued discussions of how materials identified with good potential could actually be utilized to broaden the diversity of U.S. maize. The Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) Project resulted from discussions on the need and urgency of broadening and enhancing the maize germplasm. Nearly 60 entities representing the private, public, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the US and nine other countries now collaborate to achieve GEM objectives. More than 265 varieties have been released from programs based in Ames, IA, Raleigh, NC, and from university researchers, from ~ 30 maize races or tropical hybrids. Also, about 200 doubled haploid lines from nearly 60 exotic landraces are ready for release and will serve as rich resources for exploration of allelic diversity and novel traits. Collaborative efforts are essential to provide useful germplasm for introgression, to perform breeding and testing activities, to evaluate germplasm for abiotic and biotic stress resistance, especially for pests not yet endemic to the U.S., for yield, agronomic and grain quality traits, and to conduct research to identify useful segments from exotic donor genomes.