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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333834

Title: Fast-flowering mini-maize: seed to seed in 60 days

item MCCAW, MORGAN - University Of Missouri
item WALLACE, JASON - Cornell University
item ALBERT, PATRICE - University Of Missouri
item Buckler, Edward - Ed
item BIRCHLER, JAMES - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2016
Publication Date: 7/18/2016
Citation: Mccaw, M.E., Wallace, J.G., Albert, P.S., Buckler IV, E.S., Birchler, J.A. 2016. Fast-flowering mini-maize: seed to seed in 60 days. Genetics. 204:35.

Interpretive Summary: Maize is the largest production crop in the world, which is the product of it being a large annual crop that normally maximizes its growing season length. Maize also has powerful genetics, genomic, and physiological tools available for its study. While this large size and 100-150 day growing season help in productivity, it prevents maize from being a powerful model for certain classes of research, instead a small weed Arabidopsis is used as a model. Arabidopsis is powerful model, but because it is a dicot it fails to be a good model for monocots, which contain most of the productive crops. This study announces the release and characterization of two fast small maize varieties that could be used to study a range of phenomena including heterosis, physiology, genetics, and biochemistry. The very rapid generations and small size also permit researchers and students without extensive field facilities to participate in maize research.

Technical Abstract: Two lines of Zea mays were developed as a short-generation model for maize. The Fast-Flowering Mini-Maize (FFMM) lines A and B are robust inbred lines with a significantly shorter generation time, much smaller stature, and better greenhouse adaptation than traditional maize varieties. Five generations a year are typical. FFMM is the result of a modified double-cross hybrid between four fast-flowering lines: Neuffer’s Early ACR (full color), Alexander’s Early Early Synthetic, Tom Thumb Popcorn, and Gaspe Flint, followed by selection for early flowering and desirable morphology throughout an 11-generation selfing regime. Lines A and B were derived from different progeny of the initial hybrid, and crosses between Mini-Maize A and B exhibit heterosis. The ancestry of each genomic region of Mini-Maize A and B was inferred from the four founder populations using genotyping by sequencing. Other genetic and genomic tools for these lines include karyotypes for both lines A and B, kernel genetic markers y1 (white endosperm) and R1-scm2 (purple endosperm and embryo) introgressed into Mini-Maize A, and 243 whole-genome resequencing data for Mini-Maize A.