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Quantitative Genetics And Maize Breeding


<p>The three major goals of this project are to</p><p><ol><li> develop and apply methodologies to improve plant improvement;</li><li> improve maize through breeding for South Central states, and</li><li> to educate and train future generations of plant breeders and quantitative geneticists.</li></ol></p> <p>Objectives Molecular Quantitative Genetics G1: Identify genetic relationships among grain maize lines and use various genetic mapping techniques to identify loci of importance for relevant phenotypic traits. G2: Develop and investigate populations to understand the genetic basis of yield, agronomic and specialty traits in maize. G3: Develop and investigate populations to understand the genetic basis of tillering ability, perennial growth habit and photoperiod sensitivity in the C4 grasses: maize, sorghum and sugarcane. G4: Use computer simulations to increase knowledge for protocols of genetic investigation and plant breeding methodology. Maize Breeding for South Central States B1: Introgress exotic maize alleles to increase the genetic diversity of US maize germplasm. B2: Improve yield, resistance to biotic (mycotoxins- especially aflatoxin) stress and tolerance to abiotic stresses (salinity, drought and heat) through breeding in addition to genetics. B3: Develop maize inbred lines and populations processing improved quality attributes and properties for foods, feeds, and industrial products while enhancing agronomic characteristics for Texas growing regions. B4: Use molecular techniques such as marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genomic-assisted selection, where feasible, to facilitate the selection of economically and agronomically important traits. Education E1: Involve graduate students on various projects for training and experience. E2: Jointly develop projects initiated by graduate students to deliver scientifically well-rounded, self-motivated and confident leaders of breeding and genetics for the future. Techniques: To accomplish these objectives in an effective manner, techniques must first be developed for the program that will reduce burdens in cost, labor and time. T1: Develop/select appropriate genetic marker screening platform. T2: Develop data handling pipelines to track and link germplasm with phenotypic and genotypic information. T3: Develop methods of rapid phenotypic analysis, such as near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and automated field and laboratory based machines. T4: Develop technologies that increase the speed of a reproductive and breeding cycle (CoGiV). T5: Develop methods to evaluate and increase safety in the handling of aflatoxin contaminated material.</p>

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<p>Exotic (tropical, subtropical, and wild perennial - e.g. Zea diploperennis, Sorghum propinquum) germplasm and some temperate germplasm will be used to generate segregating populations with adapted material. Molecular markers, mostly single nucleotide polymorphic (SNPs) will be employed on these populations for various types of QTL mapping (linkage mapping, association mapping, and selection mapping) and genomic selection where appropriate (Poland and Rife 2012). Inbred lines will also be developed from these populations through pedigree breeding and MAS. Selected inbred lines will be crossed to appropriate testers, including commercial transgenic testers in cooperation with industry breeding programs as specific opportunities are developed. A Fall/Winter nursery in Weslaco, TX will be used to rapidly advance material while development of CoGiV technology (Murray et al. 2013) will also be pursued. Test hybrid evaluations will be conducted in 2 to 20 diverse Texas environments for adaptation, maturity, grain yield, tolerance to drought and heat stress, resistance to mycotoxins, composition, and kernel quality for determining inbred superiority. In addition, inbred lines and hybrids will be evaluated under stressed conditions including limiting irrigation, limiting fertilization, late planting, increased salinity and inoculation with A. flavus. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations will be developed and used to more rapidly phenotype material including that resistant to A. flavus colonization and those with improved kernel quality (Fernández-Ibañeza et al. 2008). Specific kernel quality traits of interest will include improved QPM, red and blue colors, increased endosperm hardness, and superior micronutrient profiles. Molecular fingerprinting data will be used to classify inbred lines and to choose parental lines for breeding populations. Computer simulations of population development and selection will be performed to refine genetics and breeding methodology. High-throughput, automated field phenotyping technologies will also be developed in cooperation with agricultural engineers and physicists. Graduate students will be involved in all of these processes. Major outputs will include improved germplasm for Texas, well-trained graduate students, professional presentations, and journal publications.</p>

Murray, Seth
Texas A&M University
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