Scientists soon to develop disease resistant maize


A team of scientists at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Hyderabad have, in collaboration with researchers in Nairobi, Kenya, has recently conducted a genome study for understanding Sorghum Downy Mildew (SDM) resistance.


SDM is an important foliar disease caused by a fungus called Peronosclerosporasorghi, and has been an issue of major concern for maize famers. A chemical compound, Metalaxyl, is used to kill the fungus but its effectiveness has been declining as the fungus has developed resistance due to extensive use.


The research group has used a panel of 400 maize inbred lines and genome-wide Single Nucleotide Polymorphism or SNP markers for identifying genomic regions responsible for quantitative resistance towards downy mildew in maize.


This study has identified eight novel genomic regions associated with SDM resistance, which is significant. This, along with ten marker-phenotypic trait associations identified, could provide critical information for future studies for improvement of breeding programs in maize.

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