Outcome of Development of Corn Borer-Resistant Corn for Organic Farming Systems

The widespread production of Genetically Engineered (GE) corn is a threat to all organic corn growers due to the possibility of cross-pollination. At the same time, European Corn Borer (ECB) is such a major corn pest that GE varieties have been engineered specifically to resist it. Finding a corn hybrid that has both natural resistance to European Corn Borer (ECB) and is immune to genetic contamination will be great progress for organic farmers. The first three years of this project yielded some outstanding ECB-resistant selections. The work continues to fully develop lines for release.



What I would do differently Dave Christensen

INBRED LINES: When creating inbred lines to improve a population, it is not efficient to inbreed for seven to ten generations. With a large staff and lots of resources you can do more on a large scale. But on a smaller scale, more could have been accomplished by inbreeding for three generations and then starting again with new parents. Most of the bad genes are discovered and eliminated in the first three generations anyway. Also, you can run any good line into the ground by inbreeding too many times.

CHOOSING A TESTER: There were some disadvantages of u

sing Early Riser as a tester line. It came from the East and did not do well in the West. It is an open-pollinated line and the genetic diversity interfered with seeing the input of the other parent. It has tillers, which is not desirable for my program. Next time I would choose an inbred line which has single stalks and has some proven ability in the West.

CROSSBREEDING: When crossing a very slow maturing line with a fast maturing line, you must plant one of the lines at staggered dates so that some of them will flower at the same time. Sometimes there were less than a dozen plants that would match. I wish I was able to plant a lot more pollen parents so there would be more plants to choose from.

BINDWEED MANAGEMENT: If there is bindweed in the field, you must rotate every year and plant a tall grass that will shade out the bindweed.