Red root marker creates new opportunities for DH breeding

Purple maize varieties with high anthocyanin accumulation can have significant nutritional and economic value, but  cannot be identified using the R1-nj marker.

Purple maize varieties with high anthocyanin accumulation can have significant nutritional and economic value, but cannot be identified using the R1-nj marker.

Doubled haploid (DH) technology provides important benefits to maize breeding programs, as DH lines enhance genetic gains and improve breeding efficiency in addition to offering significant economic advantages. DH lines can be generated in less than half as many seasons as lines generated through traditional breeding, thus saving valuable time, resources and energy. The large scale production of DH lines is dependent on the identification of haploids at an early seedling stage. Haploids have traditionally been identified by the R1-nj (Navajo) anthocyanin color marker which, when crossed with haploid inducer lines through induction crosses, will produce haploid progeny seed with purple markings on its outer layer, or pericarp. This is to differentiate haploid from diploid seedlings, which are not useful for DH breeding.

Agricultural Innovation for Pakistan: New High-yielding Maize Varieties

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Several new high-yield maize varieties have been introduced for commercial use in Pakistan this past week, lauded as the “first ever type of maize innovation in Pakistan,” according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist, Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir. The varieties, which were developed by CIMMYT, can yield as much as 10 tons per hectare.

Of maize farmers, coming calves, waxing oxen, and comely camels: a Tanzanian tale of triumph over tribulations

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed. B. Wawa/CIMMYT’

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed. B. Wawa/CIMMYT’

By Brenda Wawa

About her last maize harvest in August 2015, Valeria Pantaleo, a 47-year-old wife and mother of four from Olkalili village, northern Tanzania, waxes lyrical: “I finally managed to buy a calf to replace my two oxen that died at the beginning of the year due to a strange disease.” Valeria relies on the oxen to plow her two-acre land.

Farmers’ Critical Role in Fight to Prevent Spread of MLN

Examining for MLNIn the fight to prevent and control the spread of maize lethal necrosis (MLN) across Eastern Africa, the support and cooperation of everyone involved in maize production is crucial—especially farmers. This was the main focus of CIMMYT’s 4th stakeholders meeting, held 15 October in Kenya, which brought together 56 local farmers as well as community leaders, administrators, government extension officers, KALRO and CIMMYT staff. The meeting was held to share new information on MLN and agree on the best methods to control the incidence and spread of the disease.