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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392234

Research Project: Management of Priority Legume, Oilseed, Vegetable, Forage Grass, Sugar, Ornamental, and Medicinal Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Title: New techniques for breeding maize (Zea mays) varieties with fall armyworm resistance and market-preferred traits for sub-Saharan Africa

item MATOVA, PRINCE - University Of The Free State
item KAMUTANDO, C - University Of Zimbabwe
item Warburton, Marilyn
item WILLIAMS, WILLIAM - Retired ARS Employee
item MAGOROKOSHO, COSMOS - Consultant
item SHIMELIS, HUSSEIN - University Of Kwazulu-Natal
item LABUSCHAGNE, MARYKE - University Of The Free State
item DAY, ROGER - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)
item GOWDA, MANJE - International Maize & Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

Submitted to: Plant Breeding
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2022
Publication Date: 11/18/2022
Citation: Matova, P.M., Kamutando, C.N., Warburton, M.L., Williams, W.P., Magorokosho, C., Shimelis, H., Labuschagne, M., Day, R., Gowda, M. 2022. New techniques for breeding maize (Zea mays) varieties with fall armyworm resistance and market-preferred traits for sub-Saharan Africa. Plant Breeding. 142(1):1-11.

Interpretive Summary: Maize is an important food staple and feed crop in Sub-Saharan Africa, and new threats to maize production would threaten the livelihoods and lives of millions of people. One such threat is the fall armyworm (FAW), a caterpillar that arrived in 2016 and spread rapidly across the continent. Extant varieties had little resistance, and so new resistant varieties are urgently needed as quickly as possible. This article is a review of work to date on identification of resistant maize and methods that can be used to move the resistance into new maize varieties for African farmers.

Technical Abstract: Deploying modern maize varieties with fall armyworm [Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith); FAW] resistance, desirable product profiles and climate resilience is fundamental to achieve food security and economic gain in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Integrated and modern breeding tools and scientific innovations are the drivers for the development and release of FAW resistant and market-prefered maize varieties. The objectives of this paper are to identify the recent challenges and opportunities for effective and accelerated breeding of demand-led maize hybrids with FAW resistance that are adapted to the diverse agro-ecologies of SSA. Further, the paper provides recommendations and outlooks on resistance breeding of FAW as a guide to delivering market-led varities in SSA. The paper highlights how breeding efficiency can be improved through adequate genetic variation delivered via pre-breeding programs and speed breeding (i.e., short growth period for selection, doubled haploid [DH] techniques and genomic tools) and a reduced breeding stage plan. The paper outlines how cultivar design is dependent on appropriate product profiles, which are based on the core principles of demand-led breeding approaches. The paper concludes by identifying the main challenges to accelerated FAW breeding of maize in SSA, including a lack of funds and facilities for DH induction and research; poor adaptation of some of the available exotic donor parental lines; lack of baseline scientific information on FAW resistance of landraces and locally adapted open-pollinated varieties; lack of effective molecular markers assoacited with FAW resistance and agronomic traits; and limited research infrastructure for FAW rearing and germplasm screening facilities.