Minutes of the Maize Crop Germplasm Committee

December 6, 2006
Hyatt Regency, Chicago IL


1.) Introductions

2.) Approval of 2005 Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Bill Tracy at 1:00 pm.  The minutes of the 2005
Maize CGC were unanimously approved.

3.) Zea Curatorial Activities

Mark Millard provided an annual report on the NCRPIS maize curatorial activities. 
Seed orders reached an all time high with expired PVPs, the Buckler/Goodman diversity set of inbreds and the new Crop Science registered GEMS being the main reasons. 

Z. nicaraguensis is now available from the NPGS.  An increase of over 100,000 cupules was obtained in the 2006 greenhouse increase.  There were 126 new accessions incorporated into the collection in 2006 and 560 lines regenerated.  The collection currently maintains 18,370 accessions of which12,310 accessions (66.6%) are available for distribution  and 13,831 (74.7%) backed up at the NCGRP in Ft. Collins, CO.  Three large disease screening nurseries were sent out in 2006 including 500 accessions to Dr. Steve Moore (Louisiana State University) for Aspergillus resistance, 250 accessions to Dr. Bill Dolezal (Pioneer Hi-Bred) for northern leaf blight resistance and 552 accessions to Dr. Charles Block (NCRPIS) for Stewarts Wilt resistance.  Ms. Rachel Beyer was hired as the stations new Germplasm Program Assistant in October 2006 and her duties will assist in the Maize curation project by entering accession data into GRIN and serving as an alternate for seed order processing.  A suite of programs were developed by Pete Cyr which consolidated the steps necessary to capture, document, transport and enter digital images into GRIN.  Candy Gardner noted that a large portion of the curators time is spent tracking orders and determining the most appropriate material to send to a requestor.  The Maize CGC unanimously approved a motion regarding the need for additional support for the Maize curatorial staff.

4.) Maize Genetic Stock Center Report

Marty Sachs distributed an annual report for the Maize Genetic Stocks Center.  3,811 seed samples have been supplied in response to 282 requests for 2006. A total of 81 requests were received from 24 foreign countries.  Approximately 11.2 acres of nursery were grown this summer at the Crop Sciences Research & Education Center located at the University of Illinois.  Samples of 1,239 stocks were sent to the NCGRP in Ft. Collins, CO for back up.  These represent new stocks that had not been previously backed up.  The size of the seed storage facility is being increased and should be completed this year.   Another winter nursery of 0.5 acres was grown at the Illinois Crop Improvement Association’s facilities in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico.  This nursery will continue to be grown in future years.  Our IT specialist, Josh Tolbert, has continued to make updates and improvements to our curation tools, and we are currently using these tools to maintain data for our collection. 

5.) National Program Staff Report

Peter Bretting distributed a report and discussed national and international issues regarding plant genetic resources.  Budget increases in the past several years have been very helpful but some NPGS sites still have limited funds.  The International Treaty came into force in 2004 but the standard MTA is not in place.  Negotiations on this are actively ongoing.  NPGS curators are seeing more and more MTA’s being attached to incoming germplasm and in some cases the wording may not be acceptable to the germplasm system.  A uniform method to handle these documents is currently being developed. 

6.) GEM Report

Mike Blanco distributed a report and discussed the GEM project.  Ten GEM lines from the Ames program have been recommended for release to GEM cooperators for the 2007 planting year.  A brochure has been completed to promote the awareness of the GEM Project’s mission, objectives and operations and to highlight the germplasm and their component traits released from the Ames and Raleigh programs.  The TSG held their meeting at the University of Delaware on August 17-18.  One important item included acquiring new germplasm to supplement breeding crosses made with LAMP accessions.  A germplasm sub-team was appointed and led by Walter Trevisan.

7.) National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP)

A report was presented on the activities of the NCGRP.  They are currently expanding the seed storage facilities to prepare for future holdings.   There is some concern that some of the PVP’s expiring over the next five years may contain GEO material.  A discussion was then held on this issue.

8.) MaizeGDB

Carolyn Lawrence distributed a report on MaizeGDB and updated the committee on its activities.  The maize sequencing projects are underway and they are working with Doreen Ware’s group to develop methods to bring the data generated by the Maize Genome Sequencing Consortium into MaizeGDB.  A genome browser needs to be developed for MaizeGDB so that when the Maize Genome Sequencing Consortium’s project ends, MaizeGDB can inherit the genome annotations.  MaizeGDB will be hiring a Computaional Biologist to assist in that project.  The GRIN group is working on improving that database and interface and they are soliciting feedback.  Mark Bohning indicated that the main goals were to include new tables in GRIN to allow molecular data generated from NPGS sites to be loaded, to get GRIN interoperable with the Model Organism Databases like MaizeGDB and to improve the public Web interface.

9.) Disease Report

In 2006, ASTA sent out two voluntary notices to members in the Mid-South and Southeastern U.S.  They were invited to submit hybrids to USDA-ARS for resistance characterization to Philippine Downy Mildew.  This pathogen is on the Department of Homeland Security/APHIS Select Agent Pest List.  Only a few companies submitted material.  In general, they believe that the introduction, establishment and economic loss risk factor for Philippine and brown stripe downy mildews as being very low.  APHIS is considering removing these from their select agent list.  Latest crop reports show that 2006 is the third largest ever at 10.7 billion bushels.  The biggest surprise with respect to diseases was the moderate to severe outbreak of Southern Corn Rust, largely in two areas from south central Kansas to the northeastern Nebraska/South Dakota border and another pocket in Arkansas/Missouri.  Dry conditions in the early growing season across the central and western Corn Belts led to a reduction in foliar diseases.  Top dieback and premature dying of corn was widely reported in late August/September from Nebraska to Ohio.  Causal agents were varied but many observed symptoms of Anthracnose Stalk Rot.  Due to favorable harvest weather in the western and central Corn Belt, reports of stalk lodging were minimal. 

10.) CIMMYT Report

The maize collection totals 25,478 accessions and 9,980 seed packets were distributed in 2006.  With the coordination of  Ing. Mario Fuentes, Denise Costich and S. Taba  monitored Tripsicum in Guatemala in 2006.  Most species were found , but they were represented by only a few populations.  The current status in situ may not last long.  It was suggested to ICTA to plant them at their stations.  Ing. Flavio Aragon located a site of teosinte in San Felipe Usila, Oaxaca.  The race and why it was growing in that location needs to be identified.  With the help of Dr. Major Goodman, a global maize germplasm conservation strategy was developed and provided to the Trust.   

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 pm.