Maize (Zea mays L.) is a remarkable plant. Human societies depend upon maize for food, health, scientific knowledge, economic growth, culture and spirituality. Maize breeders have improved productivity through selection on phenotype. Future improvements in maize productivity will require more effective utilization of genetic resources including direct selection upon genotype. Success will require a greater understanding of the complex biology of quantitative traits and a more thorough evaluation of the broader genetic base of maize. Maize breeders are fortunate and privileged to work with a species that encompasses a broad array of diversity and which provides a rich source of learning. In the future, technological developments must increasingly be considered and applied within a more holistic context including stewardship, sustainability, and equity.
This article is from Maydica 50 (2005): 185–192. Posted with permission.