Biotech Updates

Doubled Haploid Approach to Develop Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa

June 13, 2008

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is using an advance technology called the doubled haploid approach to develop inbred lines of tropical maize for sub-Saharan Africa. Maize lines from this work will be used initially in the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa and the Water Efficient Maize for Africa projects.

“Maize breeders working on hybrids—the most productive type of maize variety and the one marketed by most seed companies—must at some point create genetically-stable and pure lines of desirable, individual plants, for use as parents of hybrids,” says CIMMYT maize physiologist Jose Luis Araus. Conventional breeding to get the desired lines requires a longer process – as much as seven or more generations which represents three years and requires expensive field space, labor and time. When perfected, the process using the modern approach will only take two generations or one year.

Contact Kevin Pixley, associate director of the Global Maize Program, at or read the press release at