Objective 1. Identify genes and mechanisms underlying defense response and quantitative disease resistance to foliar fungal pathogens and ear stalk rots in maize. Sub-objective 1.A. Validate and fine-map QTL alleles underlying multiple disease resistance in maize. Sub-objective 1.B. Test the effects of candidate SLB resistance genes using transgenic and mutant analysis. Sub-objective 1.C. Assess the resistance of diverse lines to Anthracnose stalk rot. Sub-objective 1.D. Validate the roles of genes associated with variation in the maize hypersensitive response (HR). Sub-objective 1.E. Validate the effects of candidate QTL identified in genome-wide association studies of Fusarium ear rot. Objective 2. Test new methods of genomics-assisted breeding for quantitative disease resistance in maize to improve productivity and food safety. Conduct genomic selection for resistance to Fusarium ear rot. Objective 3. Evaluate diverse maize germplasm for potential in specialty food products by conducting agronomic and disease evaluations. Sub-objective 3.A. Evaluate open-pollinated varieties for food quality and agronomic production characteristics. Sub-objective 3.B. Develop populations with lower grain protein content for use in metabolic disorder diets.