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Research Abstracts Online
January - December 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics

PI: Rex N. Bernardo

Breeding Corn for New Uses and New Ways of Breeding Corn

This group’s research involves breeding unconventional types of corn and exploiting DNA markers in corn breeding. Current efforts in breeding unconventional corn focus on dwarf corn and high-oil corn. Dwarf corn grows only about 4.5 feet tall and matures in 70–75 days. In contrast, Minnesota corn is typically about 7 feet tall and matures in 90–110 days. Dwarf corn can be solid-seeded just like small grains and has potential benefits for crop rotation and weed management. The center of the U.S. corn belt has been moving northward, and dwarf corn could potentially allow corn to be grown in the northernmost regions of Minnesota. High-oil corn germplasm (20% oil) was obtained from North Korea. Breeding efforts are underway to develop high-oil lines adapted to the U.S. corn belt. Furthermore, a key technology that have become routinely available to corn breeders is single nucleotide polymorphism markers. These researchers are investigating how best to breed corn when phenotyping is expensive but genotyping is cheap, and how to increase gain per unit time with molecular markers. Current work focuses on genomewide selection with exotic germplasm and with large datasets accessed from breeding programs.

Group Members

Emily Combs, Graduate Student
Christopher M. Schaefer, Graduate Student