Crop Biotech Update

ASTA Research Develops Tools for US Corn Breeders

April 8, 2010

A study to determine essentially derived varieties (EDV) of corn has recently been published by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). The study co-authored by Stephen Smith, a research fellow of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, provides a genetically-based measurement tool using 285 publicly available simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to help identify varieties and determine whether a corn variety may be essentially derived. 

"This research is important because it reinforces the understanding that plant breeders can protect the products in which they have invested their time, resources and research efforts," said Bernice Slutsky, ASTA vice president of international programs. Developing these guidelines will create awareness of what constitutes an EDV, the variety protection law, and to improve the research environment. This will likewise encourage breeders to generate new, more productive varieties while contributing to improved stewardship of the corn genetic resource base.

The research North American Study on Essential Derivation in Maize: II. Selection and Evaluation of a Panel of Simple Sequence Repeat Loci is published in the March-April 2010 edition of Crop Science and is available at

The table of markers with isozyme and SSR profiles of the publicly available inbreds that were used in the study are available on ASTA's Web site at

For details, see the news release at