International Activities in Maize Germplasm
Maize (Zea mays L.) originated in the West Hemisphere, but maize is grown in all regions of the world where conditions are suitable for its cultivation. Consequently, maize germplasm transfer has occurred worldwide to identify sources of germplasm to meet local needs for stable maize production. Maize was an important component of the native American civilizations, and its potential for feed, food, and fuel was recognized early by the European colonists. Because of rapid changes to hybrid cultivars during the 20th century, little attention was given to the preservation of original land-race cultivars. The land-race cultivars were recognized as a valuable resource that should be conserved and evaluated. Systematic collection and classification of maize germplasm in the Western Hemisphere were completed in the 1950s with germplasm placed in seed storage facilities. Nearly 30 years later, the collected accessions were in danger of being lost because of inadequate storage facilities. Regeneration and evaluation projects were initiated in the 1980s to rescue the accessions in storage and to determine the relative breeding values of the accessions. Germplasm enhancement of accessions that have superior performance per se and in crosses continues in the Western Hemisphere.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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