Source: CORNELL UNIVERSITY submitted to
DEVELOPING BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC STRESS TOLERANCE IN CORN
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0191256
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NYC-149456
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2001
Project End Date
Oct 1, 2006
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Smith, M. E.
Recipient Organization
CORNELL UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
ITHACA,NY 14853
Performing Department
PLANT BREEDING
Non Technical Summary
Corn in New York must tolerate a spectrum of both biotic and abiotic stresses, including diseases, insects, cold wet soils in spring, variability in nitrogen availability, and a short growing season relative to that of the major corn producing areas in the U.S. This research project will develop and study new sources of resistance to corn pests and will investigate the potential for using alternative selection environments to improve performance and abiotic stress tolerance in corn.
Animal Health Component
70%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
20%
Applied
70%
Developmental
10%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2031510108040%
2151510108060%
Goals / Objectives
1. Identify novel sources of resistance to anthracnose stalk rot, European corn borer, northern leaf blight, southern leaf blight, and gray leaf spot. 2. Transfer resistance to gray leaf spot from late maturing sources to New York-adapted inbreds. 3. Investigate the genetics of novel pest resistant sources. 4. Evaluate corn varieties selected under alternative management conditions (reduced tillage, reduced nitrogen availability, inter-crop competition). 5. Evaluate early vigor and imbibitional chilling tolerance of varieties adapted to reduced tillage conditions compared to those selected under conventional conditions. 6. Assess biomass, partition, and physiological differences in inbreds, hybrids, and varieties differing in their response to nitrogen stress.
Project Methods
Classical breeding and pest resistance screening methods will be used, complemented by laboratory evaluations and molecular marker assisted selection as appropriate. 1. Novel sources of resistance will be sought from exotic germplasm and wild relatives using field-based screening under controlled disease inoculations and insect infestations. Verification of resistance will involve replicated evaluations in nurseries at Aurora, NY and with selected collaborators in PA, DE, VA, and Ottawa. New resistant sources identified will be compared with existing resistance sources in replicated trials to verify enhanced resistance in new sources and through complementation tests to detect whether the resistance alleles appear to be novel. 2. Modified backcrossing approaches will be used to transfer gray leaf spot resistance to earlier maturing inbreds that are well adapted to New York growing environments. Backcross generations will be alternated with selfing generations, to allow for evaluation of selfed progenies in areas with heavy gray leaf spot pressure in PA, DE, VA. Experimental hybrids will be evaluated for gray leaf spot resistance with these same collaborators, and for yield potential and New York adaptation through on-farm yield trials in two to three New York locations. 3. Genetic studies of resistance will employ diallel and generation means approaches. A generation means study of new gray leaf spot resistant inbreds will be conducted in PA, DE, and VA. A collaborative effort in New York, Ottawa, and Guelph will explore the genetics of resistance to multiple leaf diseases in two inbreds developed at Cornell that are highly leaf blight resistant. Comparison of ECB insect populations derived from New York and from Iowa will be completed and their differential effects will be assessed on two recently-released resistant inbreds from Cornell's breeding program. Diallel studies of inheritance of ECB resistance in these same two sources will be initiated. 4. Experimental varieties will be derived from an on-going divergent recurrent selection program. Evaluation of the third selection cycle revealed small differences in adaptation to the management practices under which selection was conducted. A fifth selection cycle will be completed and should reveal more pronounced differences. Field evaluations of experimental varieties resulting from this fifth selection cycle will be conducted to determine whether system-specific adaptation has occurred, and thus whether useful genetic variation for adaptation exists in the populations under study. Data collected will include early vigor, leaf chlorophyll concentration, leaf area index, leaf angle, biomass, yield, and yield components as appropriate. 5. Early vigor will be evaluated in cool conditions in the laboratory. Imbibitional chilling tolerance will be assessed based on well-established laboratory protocols. 6. Nitrogen stress effects will be examined at the physiological level in greenhouse studies. Yield evaluations in farmers' fields and on experiment stations will be done to relate selection conditions to potential performance under actual farmers' circumstances.

Progress 10/01/01 to 10/01/06

Outputs
Inbreds with excellent resistance to anthracnose stalk rot (ASR, Colletotrichum graminicola) and promising yield potential have been developed from four exotic by temperate populations. Four resistant inbreds are being released from this material. Studies were conducted to determine whether teosinte-derived quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for resistance to ASR are novel relative to corn-derived resistance. Results were inconclusive, but four resistant teosinte-introgressed inbreds were developed and are candidates for release. Two ASR resistant inbreds derived from Brazilian germplasm are in final stages of evaluation. Inbreeding was begun in two 75 pct temperate : 25 pct tropical populations that showed good variation for ASR resistance and have proven useful for yield potential and aflatoxin or European corn borer resistance. The resulting S1 families from each population were grown out, self-pollinated, and inoculated to select ASR-resistant families and the most resistant plants within families. Resistance selection and yield testing will continue in future years. Generation means and diallel studies of two Cornell-developed sources of resistance to gray leaf spot (GLS, Cercospora zeae-maydis) were evaluated for two years with collaborators in PA and VA. Inheritance appears to be moderately complex based on the generation means. Diallel results revealed that both general combining ability and specific combining ability were highly significant sources of variation, while reciprocal effects were not significant. The Cornell parents contributed improved resistance and their effect estimates were higher than for other released resistant sources. With R. Nelson, we evaluated a panel of 27 diverse inbreds reported to have GLS resistance for GLS in VA, and several of these resistant sources are being backcrossed into a highly susceptible inbred to fine map resistance loci. Several generations of selection for resistance to northern corn leaf blight (NCLB, Exserohilum turcicum), southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis), and anthracnose leaf blight (C. graminicola) were carried out in numerous genetic materials. With R. Nelson, we are seeking novel sources and dissecting quantitative trait loci conditioning resistance to NCLB. Known resistance sources to many different leaf diseases were evaluated for resistance to all of the above-mentioned leaf blights in a search for multiple disease resistance. Two promising inbreds were identified. We continue to breed for tropically-derived resistance to European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis). Three new inbreds with excellent resistance to ECB leaf and stalk damage are ready for release. Population improvement was carried forward on the Multiple Borer Resistant population, which now shows excellent ECB resistance and much earlier flowering. Our abiotic stress tolerance work focused on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), with screening carried out at two N levels in DE and MD. A diverse inbred panel was evaluated for NUE for three years and a diallel set of crosses for two years to understand NUE inheritance. The IBM recombinant inbred population was screened for NUE.

Impacts
Disease and insect resistance in corn increases the yield potential and yield stability of the hybrids farmers grow. Resistance to European corn borer can increase the likelihood that Bt-derived resistance will remain effective and can provide an alternative to genetically engineered resistance. New corn varieties that are well adapted and high yielding when less herbicide, nitrogen, and/or tillage inputs are used should stimulate the adoption of management systems that reduce the environmental impacts of corn production.

Publications

  • Rice, E.B., M.E. Smith, S.E. Mitchell, and S. Kresovich. 2006. Conservation and change: A comparison of in-situ and ex-situ conservation of Jala maize germplasm. Crop Science: 46:428-436.
  • Rice, E., M. Krasny, and M.E. Smith. 2006. Garden Genetics: Teaching With Edible Plants. National Science Teachers Association Press. Teacher Edition 181 pp., Student Edition 152 pp.
  • Thro, A.M., P.S. Baenziger, C. Brummer, M. Carena, W.R. Coffman, M.E. Smith, J. Hancock, J. Navazio, L. Pollak, S.Smith, T. Stalker, D. Stuthman, W.F. Tracy, G. Waines, L. Wessel-Beaver, and G. Whiteaker. 2006. Plant breeding and variety development: A vital capacity for U.S. national goals. Proceedings of the 2006 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum, 10-12 December 2006, Research Triangle Park, NC.
  • Smith, M.E. 2006. 2005 New York Hybrid Corn Grain Performance Trials. Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Plant Breeding and Genetics 2006-1. 20 pp.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Numerous field corn breeding projects designed to improve disease, insect, and abiotic stress tolerance were advanced in 2005. From populations selected for resistance to anthracnose stalk rot (ASR, Colletotrichum graminicola), 25 new inbreds were evaluated, including 19 with resistance from tropical corns and 6 with resistance from Zea diploperennis, a teosinte. Inbreds were evaluated for ASR resistance and the most well-adapted were also evaluated as hybrids for ASR and yield. Yield and stalk rot data is being analyzed. Seven S4 inbreds from Brazilian germplasm were screened for ASR and advanced to S5 for final testing in 2006. Inbreeding was initiated in two tropically-derived populations reported as promising for ASR and other traits. A generation means study of a Cornell-developed source of resistance to gray leaf spot (GLS, Cercospora zeae-maydis) was evaluated for the first year with collaborators in PA and VA. Inheritance appears to be moderately complex. Testcrosses of 40 S3s from late maturing resistant sources crossed by elite NY-adapted susceptible inbreds were screened for GLS in PA and VA. The most resistant families will be advanced. Testcrosses of 28 BC1S2 progenies (from late maturing resistant sources backcrossed into NY-adapted elite inbreds) were screened for GLS in PA and VA and for yield in NY. The most resistant and best yield potential materials are being advanced. A collaborative project with R. Nelson aims to identify outstanding GLS resistance alleles and dissect them at a molecular level. For this effort, a panel of 27 reportedly-resistant inbreds from diverse geographic areas was evaluated in VA, and several known resistant sources are being backcrossed into the susceptible inbred B73 to fine map resistance loci. Similar studies are being conducted in collaboration with R. Nelson to identify novel sources and dissect quantitative trait loci conditioning resistance to northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum). Known resistance sources to all of the above diseases and four others were evaluated for resistance to this entire suite of diseases in a search for multiple disease resistant sources. Two promising inbreds were identified. We continue to breed for tropically-derived resistance to European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis). In 2005, 12 new resistant inbreds were evaluated for ECB per se and in testcrosses, and seven of them were yield tested in preparation for release of the best sources. Breeding families, including 18 S2s from a corn belt-adapted resistant population and 45 backcrosses of resistant sources into elite NY-adapted inbreds, were screened for ECB resistance and advanced. Population improvement was carried forward on the Multiple Borer Resistant population, which now shows excellent ECB resistance and much earlier flowering. Our abiotic stress tolerance work focused on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), with screening carried out at two N levels in DE and MD. A third year of NUE evaluations on a diverse inbred panel and a second year of screening a diallel set of crosses to understand NUE inheritance were completed. Initial NUE evaluation of the IBM recombinant inbred population was done.

Impacts
Disease and insect resistance in corn increases the yield potential and yield stability of the hybrids farmers grow. Resistance to European corn borer can increase the likelihood that Bt-derived resistance will remain effective and can provide an alternative to genetically engineered resistance. New corn varieties that are well adapted and high yielding when less herbicide, nitrogen, and/or tillage inputs are used should stimulate the adoption of management systems that reduce the environmental impacts of corn production.

Publications

  • Smith, M.E. 2005. Seeds of discord: A useful, though partial, survey of how we breed the plants we eat. Invited review of N. Fedoroff and N.M. Brown, Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist s View of Genetically Modified Foods. Nature 434:957-958.
  • Cox, B., Cherney, J. and Smith Einarson, M. 2005. Recommended corn silage hybrids. What s Cropping Up? 15(6):4-5.
  • Smith, M.E. 2005. 2004 New York Hybrid Corn Grain Performance Trials. Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Plant Breeding and Genetics 2005-1. 20 pp.
  • Smith, M.E. 2005. New corns from Cornell: Inbreds with pest resistance and hybrids for organic conditions. pp. 23-26. In: Field Crop Dealer Meetings, 25-28 October 2005, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Extension Series No. E05-1, October 2005.
  • Smith, M.E. and Mt. Pleasant, J. 2005. Back to the future: Open-pollinated corn in New York? pp. 15-16. In: Field Crop Dealer Meetings, 25-28 October 2005, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Extension Series No. E05-1, October 2005.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Inbreds with excellent resistance to anthracnose stalk rot (Colletotrichum graminicola) and promising yield potential have been developed from four exotic by temperate populations, and will be further evaluated for resistance and hybrid yield potential in the coming year. A generation of selection for resistance to northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis), and anthracnose leaf blight (C. graminicola) was carried out in numerous genetic materials. Northern corn leaf blight development was excellent this year, allowing for strong selection of resistant progenies and plants within those progenies. Cornell-derived inbreds with resistance to gray leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) were crossed to testers to produce hybrids, which were evaluated for their yield potential and disease resistance. Two new inbreds with excellent resistance to European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) leaf and stalk damage are ready for public release. A broad panel of inbreds was screened under normal and low nitrogen fertilization regimes, to identify sources of nitrogen stress tolerance. Known sources of nitrogen stress tolerance were used as part of a diallel study to determine inheritance of this tolerance trait. New inbreds carrying tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses provide seed companies with the breeding materials to build stronger, more durable stress tolerance into commercial corn hybrids.

Impacts
Disease and insect resistance in corn increases the yield potential and yield stability of the hybrids farmers grow. Resistance to European corn borer can increase the likelihood that Bt-derived resistance will remain effective and can provide an alternative to genetically engineered resistance. New corn varieties that are well adapted and high yielding when less herbicide, nitrogen, and/or tillage inputs are used should stimulate the adoption of management systems that reduce the environmental impacts of corn production.

Publications

  • Gethi, J.G. and Smith, M.E. 2004. Genetic responses of single crosses of maize to Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. And Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze infestation. Crop Science 44(6):2068-2077.
  • Gethi, J.G., Smith, M.E., Mitchell, S.E., and Kresovich, S. 2004. Genetic diversity of Striga hermonthica and Striga asiatica populations in Kenya. Weed Research 44:1-10.
  • Long, J.K., Banziger, M., and Smith, M.E. 2004. Diallel analysis of grain iron and zinc density in southern African-adapted maize inbreds. Crop Science 44(6):2019-2026.
  • O Leary, N. and Smith, M.E. 2004. Uncovering corn adaptation to intercrop with bean by selecting for system yield in the intercrop environment. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 24(3):109-121.
  • Smith, M.E. 2004. Genebanks: Utilization in plant breeding. In: R.M. Goodman (ed.), Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science, Update 1. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York. www.dekker.com
  • Dawson, J.D. and Smith, M.E. 2004. Genetically Engineered Plants: Research, Rhetoric, and Reality. NRAES, Ithaca, NY. 128pp.
  • Smith, M.E. 2004. Public sector plant breeding and pest resistance management. In: B.J. Jacobsen (ed.) Management of Pest Resistance: Strategies Using Crop Management, Biotechnology, and Pesticides. CAST Special Publication. http://www.cast-science.org. 191pp.
  • Smith, M.E. 2004. Corn that Produces Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Enzymes? It Is Cropping Up! What s Cropping Up? 14(3):7-9.
  • Smith, M.E., Ericson, L., and Payne, K. 2004. Choosing the best refuge hybrids for planting with corn rootworm resistant Bt corn. p.30-33. In: 2003 New York State Livestock and Field Crops Project Reports Relating to IPM. Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NYS IPM Publication #324.
  • Smith, M.E. 2004. 2003 New York Hybrid Corn Grain Performance Trials. Cornell Univesity, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Plant Breeding Mimeo 2004-1. 18 pp.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
Inbreds with excellent resistance to anthracnose stalk rot (Colletotrichum graminicola) and promising yield potential have been developed from four exotic by temperate populations, and will be further evaluated for resistance and hybrid yield potential in the coming year. Progenies were derived, inoculated, and rated to determine whether teosinte-derived quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for resistance to anthracnose stalk rot are novel relative to corn-derived resistance. Resistance ratings are currently being analyzed. A generation of selection for resistance to northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis), and anthracnose leaf blight (C. graminicola) was carried out in numerous genetic materials. Southern corn leaf blight and anthracnose leaf blight development was good this year, allowing for selection of resistant progenies and plants within those progenies. A study of inheritance of resistance to gray leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) revealed that both general combining ability and specific combining ability were highly significant sources of variation, while reciprocal effects were not significant. The Cornell-developed inbred parents in this diallel showed significant general combining ability effects for improved resistance and their effect estimates were higher than for other released resistant sources. Crosses of these inbreds were evaluated for their yield potential as hybrids; data are currently being analyzed. Two new inbreds with excellent resistance to European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) leaf and stalk damage are ready for public release. A broad panel of inbreds was screened under normal and low nitrogen fertilization regimes, to identify sources of nitrogen stress tolerance. Known sources of nitrogen stress tolerance were used as part of a diallel study to determine inheritance of this tolerance trait. New inbreds carrying tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses provide seed companies with the breeding materials to build stronger, more durable stress tolerance into commercial corn hybrids.

Impacts
Disease and insect resistance in corn increases the yield potential and yield stability of the hybrids farmers grow. Resistance to European corn borer can increase the likelihood that Bt-derived resistance will remain effective and can provide an alternative to genetically engineered resistance. New corn varieties that are well adapted and high yielding when less herbicide, nitrogen, and/or tillage inputs are used should stimulate the adoption of management systems that reduce the environmental impacts of corn production.

Publications

  • Weltzien, E., Smith, M.E., Meitzner, L. and Sperling, L. 2003. Technical and Institutional Issues in Participatory Plant Breeding - From the Perspective of Formal Plant Breeding. PPB Monograph No. 1. PRGA Program, CIAT, Cali, Colombia. 208pp.
  • Smith, M.E., Seiter, S., Mt. Pleasant, J. and Kutka, F. 2003. Performance of open-pollinated corn varieties for grain and silage production. p. 23-25. In: L.M. Reid (ed.) Proc. Fifty-eighth Northeastern Corn Improvement Conference, 13-14 February 2003, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
Inbreds with excellent resistance to anthracnose stalk rot (Colletotrichum graminicola) and promising yield potential have been developed from four exotic by temperate populations, and will be evaluated for hybrid yield potential in the coming year. Seed was increased preparatory to release of a new inbred with excellent stalk rot resistance that was developed from Cornell germplasm. Studies were initiated to determine whether teosinte-derived quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for resistance to anthracnose stalk rot are novel relative to corn-derived resistance. A generation of selection for resistance to northern corn leaf blight (Exserohilum turcicum), southern corn leaf blight (Bipolaris maydis), and anthracnose leaf blight (C. graminicola) was attempted in numerous genetic materials, but extremely hot and dry conditions prevented establishment of the inoculated pathogens, so no selection was possible for these diseases in the 2002 growing season. Inheritance of resistance to gray leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) was evaluated for a second year in two new resistant inbreds developed at Cornell, relative to a range of known resistant and susceptible inbreds. Preliminary results show significant general combining ability effects for improved resistance from the Cornell parents and their effect estimates were higher than for other released resistant sources. One of these two inbreds will be publicly released. Four new inbreds with excellent resistance to European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) leaf and stalk damage were grown out for seed increase and final ratings. Selection of which to release will be based on analysis of this data. A broad panel of inbreds was screened under normal and low nitrogen fertilization regimes, to identify sources of nitrogen stress tolerance. Known sources of nitrogen stress tolerance were used as part of a diallel study to determine inheritance of this tolerance trait. Both of these studies were severely affected by the lack of water, which negating the effects of different nitrogen treatments. Studies will be initiated again in the coming growing season. New inbreds carrying tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses provide seed companies with the breeding materials to build stronger, more durable stress tolerance into commercial corn hybrids.

Impacts
Disease and insect resistance in corn increases the yield potential and yield stability of the hybrids farmers grow. Resistance to European corn borer can increase the likelihood that Bt-derived resistance will remain effective and can provide an alternative to genetically engineered resistance. New corn varieties that are well adapted and high yielding when less herbicide, nitrogen, and/or tillage inputs are used should stimulate the adoption of management systems that reduce the environmental impacts of corn production.

Publications

  • Ho, J.C., S.R. McCouch, and M.E. Smith. 2002. Improvement of hybrid yield by advanced backcross QTL analysis in elite maize. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 105:440-448.
  • Gethi, J.G., J.A. Labate, S. Kresovich, M.E. Smith, and K.R. Lamkey. 2002. SSR variation in important US maize inbred lines. Crop Science 42(3):951-957.
  • Paliwal, R.L. and M.E. Smith. 2002. Tropical Maize: Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Productivity and Production Increases. p. 43-73. In: M.S. Kang (ed.) Crop Improvement: Challenges in the Twenty-first Century. Haworth Press, Inc., New York.
  • Smith, M.E. 2002. Biotechnology: State of the science and review processes. p.23-34. Perspectives on Agricultural Biotechnology: Proceedings from "Biotechnology: Progress or Problem?", 17-19 January 2002. NRAES-144, Ithaca NY.
  • Smith, M.E. 2002. Tailoring varieties for crop mixtures: Farmer breeding for maize-bean-squash systems. p.55-56. Abstracts: The Northeast Natural History Conference VII, 24-27 April 2002, Albany NY.
  • Smith, M.E., E. Stromberg, J.Ayers, and L. Ericson. 2002. Diallel analysis of gray leaf spot resistance for two new inbred sources. Proc. Fifty-sixth Northeastern Corn Improvement Conference, 11-12 February 2002, Virginia Beach, VA.
  • Zhu, X., L.M.Reid, and M.E. Smith. 2002. A gene for resistance to northern leaf blight is inhibited by CO325. Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter 76:53-54.