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Think and Do The Extraordinary
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James Holland

USDA Professor

Maize Breeding & Genetics


2122 Plant Sciences Building


We are interested in understanding the nature of genetic variation within maize (field corn),Zea mays:

  • How is genetic variation distributed among and within temperate inbred lines, temperate landraces, tropical inbred lines, and tropical accessions?
  • Are there unique allelic variants in exotic, tropical maize that are absent from the U.S. breeding pool?
  • Which genomic regions are associated with phenotypic variance for important agronomic traits (grain yield, flowering time, plant height, disease resistance)?
  • How do allelic variations at different loci interact in their effects on phenotypes (is epistasis important, and how does it ramify from genic interactions to phenotypic interactions)?
  • What are the most efficient breeding procedures for incorporating unique and favorable alleles from unadapted genetic backgrounds into well-adapted temperate lines?
  • Can DNA marker-assisted selection aid us in this task?

In addition, we have a program to identify the genetic basis of resistance to corn ear rot caused by Fusarium fungal species and of resistance to the accumulation of the mycotoxin, fumonisin, caused by the fungus.


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