Genomic-assisted maize breeding: Status and Opportunities – CIMMYT Genomic-assisted maize breeding: Status and Opportunities – CIMMYT

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Genomic-assisted maize breeding: Status and Opportunities

August 12, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm EAT


The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in collaboration with national programs and the private seed sector, is intensively engaged in developing and deploying improved climate resilient maize varieties for tropical/ subtropical environments in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. Changing climates, environmental degradation, and devastating pathogens and insect-pests are known threats to crop production and productivity, especially in the tropics. As crop yields are the result of the interplay of improved genetics and agronomy, for consistent increase of yields against all the threats facing maize cultivation, improved genetics and strategies to rapidly breed for present and future-ready varieties need to play an important role. Considerable yield gains have been achieved over the past several decades through conventional maize breeding, though it was a relatively slow and resource-intensive process.

The increasing demands for high-yielding, multiple stress tolerant and nutritionally enriched maize varieties warrants accelerated breeding that makes use of modern tools and technologies, including doubled haploids, molecular markers, high-throughput and reliable phenotyping, off-season nurseries, and decision support tools. Molecular markers are used in the context of marker assisted back crossing, marker assisted recurrent selection, forward breeding and more recently, in genome-wide selection. The climate change scenario has been challenging the breeders to develop products resilient under multiple stresses in short time span. Reduction in resources is another challenge breeding programs have to manage, without compromising the selection efficiency. By integrating genomic tools like forward breeding and genomic selection, along with enabling technologies breeding programs will be able to increase genetic gains with similar or reduced level of resources.

To support discussions on the topic of genomics assisted maize breeding, CIMMYT will be conducting an international webinar with its partners on ‘‘Genomic-assisted maize breeding: Status and Opportunities’’ on 12th August 2020, 4:00 pm Nairobi time/3:00 pm Harare time/8:00 am Mexico time/6:30 pm India time.

Objectives include discussions on:
(i) Current status, challenges and opportunities on integrating genomic tools in maize breeding.
(ii) Trait linked markers and the way forward.
(iii) Current status of genomic selection.
(iv) Insights from academia and industry on the scope of genomics based breeding.

This will be a webinar that will provide an opportunity to learn from the broad range of experiences from CIMMYT and external resource persons (seed companies and ARIs). The webinar will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences on from subject matter specialists, followed by discussions and Q&A.

Resource persons:

  • Michael Olsen, Upstream Research Coordinator GMP, CIMMYT
  • Kelly Robbins, Quantitative Geneticist, Cornell University
  • Brian Gardunia, Discovery Breeding Methodology Lead, Bayer Crop Science
  • Sudha Nair, Senior Molecular Geneticist, GMP, CIMMYT
  • Xuecai Zhang, Senior Molecular breeder, GMP, CIMMYT
  • Manje Gowda, Molecular breeder, GMP, CIMMYT


August 12, 2020
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EIB) Platform