Breeding for grain quality traits
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Plant breeders have been extremely successful at improving the yield of maize. Grain quality has received less attention; however important advances have been made by breeders in this area as well. Maize with a wide range of compositions and fractions within the major grain components has resulted from breeders taking advantage of advances in biochemistry and genetics over the last fifty years. Breeding for grain quality provides end users with grain better suited to their needs. Maize with improved amino acid balance allows animal feed to be produced at a lower cost. Maize with altered fatty acid composition allows production of healthier vegetable oil. Maize with altered starch properties allows improvement of many products that rely on starch based gels, films and adhesives. Although mutants that impact these traits have been widely used, quantitative genetic approaches have also been successful when applied in long-term breeding programs. Two successful approaches involve elements of both approaches, including the development of QPM based on the o2 mutant with selection for improved kernel types and the development of high amylose maize based on the ae mutation with selection for increased amylose.
This article is published as Pollak, L. M., and M. P. Scott. "Breeding for grain quality traits." Maydica 50, no. 3/4 (2005): 247.