MAZE - Accessing the genomic and functional diversity of maize to improve quantitative traits

MAZE develops solutions to access native diversity in a targeted way. A unique library of maize DH-lines derived from Flint landraces and a Dent MAGIC-population will be genotyped and phenotyped extensively to identify and functionally characterize genes contributing to two important abiotic stress resistance traits, chilling and drought tolerance. For both germplasm groups optimized prediction models will be developed accounting for gene-environment interactions to obtain highly accurate genomic breeding values. Making use of in silico and in planta selection experiments we will devise optimal selection schemes for rapid cycling germplasm improvement to maximize selection gain in breeding programs aiming at the utilization of genetic resources and non-adapted material. Results from the project can be used directly for germplasm improvement and optimization of breeding schemes, thus securing sustainable crop production in a changing world.

MAZE is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the scope of the funding initiative “Plant Breeding Research for the Bioeconomy” (Funding ID Phase 1: 031B0195, Phase 2: 031B0882).