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Practical considerations for maintaining germplasm in maize


The main goals of genetic resource management are to acquire, maintain, distribute, characterize, regenerate, preserve, evaluate, and utilize the genetic diversity of crops and their wild relatives. The objectives of this study for ex-situ conservation of maize (Zea mays L.) are to review and describe: (1) practical regeneration methods that are based on population genetic theory; (2) practical problems encountered in choosing core subsets of a maize collection. Whenever possible, regeneration procedures should control the number of pollen parents (male gametes; through controlled hand pollination) and the number of female parent gametes (by harvesting equal numbers of kernels from each seed plant). When the number of pollen and seed parents are controlled during regeneration, the effective population size (Ne) is twice the size of the original population (N). Examples of practical methods for controlling the number of male and female parents are presented. The procedure involves random-paired plant crosses and taking equal numbers of seeds from each maize ear. To form a core subset, accessions of a maize race are subdivided through a stratified sampling procedure. Delineation of a core subset from a Tuxpeño racial collection is described as an example.

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Communicated by A. R. Hallauer

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Crossa, J., Taba, S., Eberhart, S.A. et al. Practical considerations for maintaining germplasm in maize. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 89, 89–95 (1994).

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  • Maize
  • Effective Population Size
  • Female Parent
  • Male Gamete
  • Genetic Theory