Agronomy and Horticulture Department
Corn Breeding: Lessons from the Past
Date of this Version
Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary (PASSeL) Lesson
This is the first in a series of lessons specifically designed to instruct individuals without any formal training in genetics or statistics about the science of corn breeding. Individuals with formal training in genetics or statistics but without any training in plant breeding also may benefit from these lessons.
Overview and Objectives
This is the first in a series of lessons specifically designed to instruct individuals without any formal training in genetics or statistics about the science of corn breeding. Individuals with formal training in genetics or statistics but without any training in plant breeding also may find these lessons beneficial.
To learn more about the science of corn breeding, a reasonable starting place is a review of the history of corn breeding. You can learn much by considering the failures and successes of past breeding efforts and the causes behind these. In subsequent lessons, many of the concepts introduced in this lesson will be examined in more detail.
At the completion of this lesson you will be able to
- describe the basic anatomy and reproductive biology of a corn plant,
- name the two races of corn that are the parents of the Corn Belt Dent race,
- define what is meant by “open-pollinated variety” (OPV) and name several historically important open-pollinated varieties (OPVs),
- discuss two reasons why grain productivity did not increase in the United States from 1870 to 1930,
- define inbreeding and the consequences of inbreeding in corn,
- describe how to develop an inbred and a single-cross hybrid of corn, and
- name three reasons for the remarkable gains made in corn performance from 1930 to the present.
- Lesson home
- Corn Breeding: Lessons From the Past - Overview and Objectives
- What are the Origins of Corn?
- Anatomy and Reproduction of Corn
- Races of Corn
- A New Race of Corn Is Born
- What is an open-pollinated variety?
- Corn Grain Yields, 1870 to 1930
- Corn Shows, A Social Phenomenon
- Inbreeding, Hybrid Vigor, and Hybrid Corn
- Corn Grain Yields, 1930 to Today
- Corn Breeding: Lessons From the Past - Summary
- Corn Breeding: Lessons From the Past - Further Reading
Copyright © 2005 Ken Russell and Leah Sandall. Used by permission.
JNRLSE approved 2005
This project was supported in part by the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants CAP project 2011-68002-30029 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, administered by the University of California-Davis and by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Undergraduate Education, National SMETE Digital Library Program, Award #0938034, administered by the University of Nebraska. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA or NSF.