CIMMYT Scientist Uses Native Maize Varieties to Find Novel Traits for BreedingApril 25, 2018
A scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is working to help farmers face the challenges posed by climate change by using the natural diversity of plants to unlock desirable genetic traits inside food crops. Terry Molnar, maize phenotyping and breeding specialist at CIMMYT, studies the traits found in different maize varieties in the CIMMYT seed collections that can be used to strengthen crops and produce healthy food and better livelihoods. He studies landraces to identify useful traits such as resistance to heat and drought.
Molnar looks for landrace varieties with natural resistance to two prevalent maize diseases, tar spot complex (TSC) and maize lethal necrosis (MLN). TSC is an important disease in the southern half of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, and can decrease yields by 50 percent when it gets into fields early in a growing cycle. Most of the farmers in the affected areas are too poor to afford fungicides, so resistance built into varieties is very important. Likewise, MLN is a large problem in eastern Africa.
The last trait that Molnar looks for is pigmentation, specifically blue and red kernel colors. This effort aims to develop new end-use markets in Mexico. Maize pigments come from increased concentrations of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which has been connected to decreased cancer risk. Blue and red maize can be used for specialty food products or for industrial use such as the extraction of natural colors for use in other food products. In both cases, the pigmented maize commands a higher price for the farmer and gives them access to new markets.
For more details, read the feature article from CIMMYT.
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- FAO Calls for Global Coordination for a Bioeconomy that Leaves No One Behind
- CIMMYT Scientist Uses Native Maize Varieties to Find Novel Traits for Breeding
- A Scientist Works to Increase Water Saving Potential of Crops
- Earth BioGenome Project Holds Solutions for Agriculture's Future
- Agri-Biotech Project Featured in Farm Tourism Field Immersion in PH
- Fostering Innovation Key for a Healthy, Wealthy and Food-secure Commonwealth
- EuropaBio: EU Must Reinstate Science in GMO Safety Assessment; Stop Unneeded Animal Testing
- EFSA Publishes Scientific Opinion on Three‐Event Stack Cotton GHB614 × LLCotton25 × MON 15985
- Why Rice Planthoppers Do Not Prefer Bt Rice Plants
- Transformation of Encoded GA20-oxidase Gene in Tobacco
- OsPK2 Gene Involved in Starch Synthesis and Grain Filling in Rice
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Research Team Creates Detailed Map of Genetic Evolution of Brewer's Yeast
- Scientists Develop Insulin-Deficient Pigs for Diabetes Research
- 2018 BIO International Convention
- Dominant Allele Restricts Nodulation of Rhizobium Species in Soybean
- Researchers Perform Targeted Mutation and Gene Replacement in Tomato
- Application of CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing in Wild Strawberry
- CRISPR Reveals the Role of SlMPK20 Protein in Tomato Pollen Development
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (February 21, 2024)
- Gene Editing Supplement (February 14, 2024)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: