Friday, May 3, 2013

Corn breeding

The North American experience is a model, of corn improvement through a breeding process that was quite successful.

Although early systematic corn breeding began in the United States in the 20th century corn has become an important crop worldwide.

Corn was domesticated by early Central American Indians who, using mass selection methods, developed many cultivate open-pollinated races.

Modern open pollinated varieties have survived hundreds of generation of selection in cultivation, and it is become the best genetic resources for developing inbred lines that enhance performance when hybridized.

A major activity in modern corn breeding is to improve their adaptedness: including maturity duration, response to soil fertility, cold tolerance and resistance to heat and drought.

Another reason is to increase the quality of corn: including high protein content, high oil content and high protein quality.

A large portion of corn breeding effort is devoted to improving established inbreds by backcrossing individual genes for quality or disease resistance.

Backcrossing is a key feature of breeding programs for many crop species. Incorporating single genes for pest resistance, plant architecture, photoperiod response, quality and other traits is a common feature in the breeding of many crops.

By using conventional plant-breeding methods, hybrid performance improvement will continue and probably at an accelerated rate.

Development at additional tools and breeding methods should contribute to even higher yield, standability and stress resistance over time.
Corn breeding

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