Progress in development of 'asexual' maize
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CTA. 1996. Progress in development of 'asexual' maize. Spore 65. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47441
A high-yielding maize variety that farmers can plant year after year without having to buy new seed sounds like an impossibledream. But scientists at the Centre for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize (CIMMYT) in Mexico have taken the first...
A high-yielding maize variety that farmers can plant year after year without having to buy new seed sounds like an impossible dream. But scientists at the Centre for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize (CIMMYT) in Mexico have taken the first crucial steps towards realizing that dream. After five years of studying more than 50,000 plants, the researchers have finally found two that closely resemble maize but reproduce asexually. This asexual reproduction, known as 'apomixis', means that farmers would be able to save their seed, as it would be unaffected by pollen that can contaminate seed with unwanted traits. The new plants were derived from crosses between maize and the wild grass, Tripsacum. The decendants of these first crosses were then crossed repeatedly with maize over several generations. This allowed the scientists to weed out many undesirable characteristics of the wild grass parent whilst still retaining the gene for apomixis in plants that began to look more and more like maize. CIMMYT scientists are combining conventional breeding techniques with DNA markers to speed the development of apomictic maize. Once obtained, this maize may be used by breeders worldwide to generate a range of improved varieties and hybrids for farmers. CIMMYT Lisboa 27 PO Box 6-641 06600 Mexico DF MEXICO