Keno, T., G. Azmach, D. Wegary, M. Worku, B. Tadesse, L. Wolde, T. Deressa, B. Abebe, T. Chibsa and L. M. Suresh. 2018. Major biotic maize production stresses in Ethiopia and their management through host resistance.

Posted on Published Journals, Research Publication, January 23, 2019

African Journal of Agricultural  Research 13(21): 1042-1052   10.5897/ajar2018.13163

Abstract: Biotic stresses are recently evolving very rapidly and posing significant yield losses of maize production in Ethiopia. A number of high yielding maize hybrids, initially developed as tolerant/resistant, have been taken out of production due to their susceptibility to major maize diseases. Furthermore, recent disease and insect pest epidemics have clearly shown the importance of breeding maize for biotic stresses and study the genetics of resistance to the major maize disease pathogens, insect pests and parasitic weeds. This paper gives the general perspective of the major biotic maize production stresses in Ethiopia and the interventions made locally and globally to control these stresses using host resistance. More emphasis was given to grey leaf spot (GLS), turcicum leaf blight (TLB), common leaf rust (CLR), maize streak disease (MSD), maize lethal necrosis (MLN), maize weevil, stalk borers, fall armyworm and Striga. Approaches to conducting genetic analysis and achieving durable host resistance to these stresses, where applicable, are discussed. This information will be used for breeders, private and public maize seed and grain growers who are targeting to operate in Ethiopia and Eastern Africa.

Gracia-Romero A, Vergara-Diaz O, Thierfelder C, Cairns JE, Kefauver SC, Araus JL. 2018.Phenotyping conservation agriculture management effects on ground and aerial remote-sensing assessments of maize hybrids performance in Zimbabwe.

Posted on Published Journals, Research Publication, January 23, 2019

Remote Sensing 10, 349. DOI:

Abstract: Conservation Agriculture (CA) has been recommended in sub-Saharan Africa to better manage soil health and boost crop productivity. Maize is the main staple food in SSA. To increase maize yields, the selection of suitable genotypes and management practices for CA conditions has been explored using remote sensing tools. They may play a fundamental role towards overcoming the traditional limitations of data collection and processing in large scale phenotyping studies. We present the result of a study in which Red-Green-Blue (RGB) and multispectral indexes were evaluated for assessing maize performance under conventional ploughing (CP) and CA practices. Eight hybrids under different planting densities and tillage practices were tested. The measurements were conducted on seedlings at ground level (0.8 m) and from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform (30 m). Most of the calculated indexes (Green Area (GA) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)) were significantly affected by tillage conditions increasing their values from CP to CA. The results of this study highlight the applicability of remote sensing approaches based on RGB images to the assessment of crop performance and hybrid choice.

Chaikam V, Nair SK, Martinez L, Lopez LA, Utz HF, Melchinger AE and Boddupalli PM (2018) Marker-Assisted Breeding of Improved Maternal Haploid Inducers in Maize for the Tropical/Subtropical Regions.

Posted on Published Journals, Research Publication, January 23, 2019

Front. Plant Sci. 9:1527. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01527

Abstract : Through in vivo induction of haploids and subsequent chromosomal doubling, genetically homozygous breeding lines called double haploid (DH) lines can be produced in maize in just two crop seasons compared to the traditional inbreeding approach that requires 6–9 crop seasons. Until recently, there were no tropical haploid inducers in maize with high haploid induction rates and acceptable agronomic performance. This study presents how second-generation Tropically Adapted Inducer Lines (2GTAILs) were developed using marker assisted selection (MAS) for qhir1, a QTL with a significant positive effect on High haploid Induction Rate (HIR) from the crosses between elite tropical maize inbreds and first generation Tropically Adapted Inducers Lines (TAILs). One of the new inducers 2GTAIL006 showed an average HIR of 13.1% which is 48.9% higher than the average HIR of the TAILs. The number of plants of a source population that need to be crossed to obtain a desired number of haploids can be reduced by 41.6% compared to the first-generation haploid. This leads to considerable maize breeding costs savings.

Cairns JE, Prasanna BM. 2018. Developing and deploying climate-resilient maize varieties in the developing world.

Posted on Published Journals, Research Publication, January 23, 2019

Current Opinions in Plant Biology  DOI:

Abstract: This paper found that climate-resilient maize has the potential to increase yield by 5–25% in Africa. Genetic gains in grain yield in stress-prone environments were possible thanks to the establishment of a large managed stress screening network. Timelines for replacing old varieties with improved climate resilient varieties are reducing but higher genetic gain and faster variety replacement are required to increase yield and climate resilience of rainfed smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Araus JL, Kefauver SC, Zaman-Allah M, Olsen MS, Cairns JE. 2018.

Posted on Published Journals, Research Publication, January 23, 2019

Translating high throughput phenotyping into genetic gain. Trends in Plant Science 23, 451-466. DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2018.02.001

Abstract: Inability to efficiently implement high-throughput field phenotyping is increasingly perceived as a key component that limits genetic gain in breeding programs. Field phenotyping must be integrated into a wider context than just choosing the correct selection traits, deployment tools, evaluation platforms, or basic data-management methods. Phenotyping means more than conducting such activities in a resource-efficient manner; it also requires appropriate trial management and spatial variability handling, definition of key constraining conditions prevalent in the target population of environments, and the development of more comprehensive data management, including crop modeling. This review will provide a wide perspective on how field phenotyping is best implemented. It will also outline how to bridge the gap between breeders and ‘phenotypers’ in an effective manner.

KEYWORDS: field phenotyping; genetic gain; high-throughput; remote sensing

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