Assessing corn pollen flow and outcross in seed and grain production fields

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Lopez-Sanchez, Higinio
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A. Susana Goggi
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The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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Pollen movement and the resulting flow of genes between plant populations have been an integral part of corn evolution. However, the adventitious presence of bioengineered genes in conventional varieties due to gene flow is a serious concern when producing grain for specialty markets, organic products, crops with valued added traits, and seed. An additional concern is the release of corn bioengineered to produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds. The objectives of this study were to detect the presence of transgenes in corn DNA from pollen and to compare the gene flow and outcross in a seed and grain fields using a combination of three markers genes, seed color, Bt, and RR. Chapter 1 contains a pollen DNA extraction protocol for corn and a comparison of the efficiency of 11 primer pairs at detecting the Bt transgene; Chapter 2 presents the study of outcross in large-scale corn fields with different pollen density, grain and seed fields; and Chapter 3 presents the resulting outcross in large-scale corn fields with similar pollen density, grain fields, across environments. The proposed pollen DNA extraction method was very effective in extracting DNA from pollen samples and the primer pair 35S168F/35S317R was the most efficient in identifying the CaMV35S promoter sequence in transgenic varieties. There were significant differences of outcross at different distances and directions from the pollen source associated with wind speed and direction. The differences in outcross distribution between grain and seed fields in 2003 were statistically significant, but inconclusive in grain fields in 2003 and 2004. Our results showed that segregation of transgenic and nontransgenic corn can not be achieved within the 250 m distance because the outcross level seldom reached zero percent.

Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2005