Walter Trevisan Monsanto Central Corn Belt Commercial Corn Breeding Lead Waterman-Dekalb-IL The importance of GEM for US Seed Companies
Introduction The Corn Genetic Diversity used in the US How can Seed companies benefit from GEM efforts? Large Seed Companies Small Seed companies What are the present main deliverables from GEM? Why are we confident that GEM is going to evolve with the new trends/new challenges of the modern seed industry? Conclusion Outline
Introduction • The hybrid corn breeding milestones and bottlenecks over the years
Land Races and Varieties till early 20th century The Double Cross era The Single Cross era The recurrent selection era The data driven/pedigree era Introduction • The hybrid corn breeding milestones and bottlenecks over the years
The T Cytoplasm and the H. maydis disaster of early 70’s The danger of genetic uniformity The biotech era The mergers and acquisitions The traits boom 10-12 traits stacks by 2012? Introduction • The hybrid corn breeding milestones and bottlenecks over the years
Yield Gain/Year on the Farm Increases by 70% in Biotech Era Troyer, F., Crop Sci. 46:528-543. 320 million additional acres would be needed to produce today’s crop @Civil War yield levels The Organic Era
The Ethanol boom and its challenges Corn on Corn Disease pressure Foliar diseases Stalk rots More use of fungicides Nematodes? More (more expensive) Nitrogen How about P2O5? Seedling vigor Mechanization challenges Planting over more corn debris Harvesting more stalk lodged plants Storage challenges Introduction • The hybrid corn breeding milestones and bottlenecks over the years
74 Potential Iowa Plants 11 Just across IA Borders Capacity: 139% of 2006 Crop Iowa Corn Processing Plants, Current & Planned, 3/16/07
Do we have enough variability to allow continuous genetic gains for yield and still have sustainable economic yields? The corn genetic diversity used in US
One basic race used in most of the Corn Belt (and other parts of the world) The 19th century origin race- Corn Belt Dent The merge of two land races- Southern Dents and Northern Flints- in different percentages narrowed down nowadays to SSS in the female side Non SSS (C103; Oh43; Oh7) in the male side Southern Dents still used in the South but receiving more and more introgressions of either SSS or Lancaster The corn genetic diversity used in US
New techniques and increases in sizes and numbers have allowed us to keep genetic gains Increase in nursery sizes (typical station) 1950- X acres 1970- 3X acres 1990- 7X acres 2000- 10X acres 2010- 15X acres Increase in testing sizes 1950- X acres 1970- 2.5X acres 1990- 5.0X acres 2000- 7.0X acres 2010- 15.0X acres Better use of winter nursery- 2 or more gen/year Mechanization of planters, harvesting, processing The corn genetic diversity used in US
New techniques and increases in sizes and numbers have allowed us to keep genetic gains Better understanding of GxE and GxExY interactions Better statistical designs Incredible increase in computer speed and computer usage Utilization of molecular markers- breeding and BC Insect traits helped lower CV’s The corn genetic diversity used in US
New techniques and increases in sizes and numbers have allowed us to keep genetic gains (cont) The use of the Double Haploids techniques (old Chase’s monoploid techniques) How many new techniques our breeding groups are “cooking” to improve efficiencies in our research? But the bottom line is and will be ALWAYS:- How good our genetic base is How good we are at moving up the yield plateau and keep or increase genetic gains The corn genetic diversity used in US
300 Nat’l yields of 300 bu./ac are possible Sizable Gains Will Be Realized From Marker-Assisted Breeding 250 200 Average Corn Yield (in bushels per acre) 150 100 50 0 1970 1990 2010 2030 Historical Yield Projection 30-Year Trend, Based on Historical Yield Projection Molecular Breeding Benefit Biotechnology Yield Benefit Breeding and Biotechnology will drive yield increases Step-Changes in Grain Potential
How long can we keep increasing the genetic gains and expanding the heterosis with narrower and narrower variability, even with the use of molecular markers? Are we going to wait till most of the variability is exhausted in this single corn race to look for new germplasm from different parts of the world? These questions have always been in the mind of very few breeders. The competitive environment calls for more and more data driven decisions that normally narrows the genetic variability very fast The corn genetic diversity used in US
Some companies might reach its own yield plateau before others depending on how much infusion of different germplasm they have We need serious work on:- Collecting what still is out there to be collected Preserving and evaluating what has been collected Increasing programs like GEM that systematically introgress new variability into an adapted genetic basis The corn genetic diversity used in US
Monsanto strategically acquired different seed companies with different germplasm that used different methodologies for breeding The US Germplasm base acquired still allows good genetic gains for near future Very competitive and diverse Ex-US germplasm base Even GEM is benefiting from it- DK888; DK212; XL370; DK844; etc; from different tropical areas of the world A pool of germplasm breeders very experienced in germplasm introgressions How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM? • The views of a large seed company (Monsanto)
Global Germplasm Resources Enable Deployment of Differentiated Product Portfolios 12 countries and 3 companies/country = 36 major germplasm acquisitions Asgrow Int’l DEKALB Int’l Asgrow USA DEKALB USA Inter-company Crosses Cargill Int’l Holden’s Agroceres Sensako “Inter-company” breeding crosses are a routine part of our program Starting 2nd Breeding Generation of an integrated germplasm pool
Monsanto breeding strategy was/is to aggressively introgress Monsanto proprietary Ex-US germplasm into the Monsanto US heterotic pattern in a continuous and planned system Results are piling!! Recently several broad announcement: Farmers Progress show Demo of a hybrid launched in the Southern Corn Belt -25% Argentinean Flint in the male side -25% Brazilian germplasm in the female side Monsanto’s CTO (Fraley) speeches to investors and media The Monsanto Ex-US germplasm allows tremendous support for breeding and discovery projects How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
The seed companies introgression strategies are like “two lane highway” The yield genes and heterosis accumulated in US has been more and more ”exported”. More and more US germplasm is incorporated in other countries’ heterotic patterns Intensive breeding in these countries is decreasing their exploited genetic variability -Ex:- Thailand -1985- 95% varieties -2000- 90% Single Cross Biotech era- export QTL’s to all the corn breeding around the world? The introgressions that we will have in the future will have more and more of US germplasm (and US QTL’s). How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
How we (Monsanto) see GEM helping a large seed company? We see GEM as A parallel effort to bring to US different genes that enhance the US corn germplasm diversity A “repository” of the genetic variability that the competitive breeding burns A continuous and dedicated effort to identify different traits that can enhance the US corn A source of diverse adapted inbreds that are ready to be used in breeding programs We don’t believe yet that one inbred directly out of GEM could be commercial in a large company. But chances are increasing. Recent evaluations against our testers indicate that the new releases are a lot more competitive in plant quality and yield level How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
How do we see GEM helping a small seed company? Access to Ex-US Inbreds US adapted germplasm base Clear aligned heteroticaly Screened by industry’s standard heterotic aligned testers No daylenght sensitivity Access to source populations with 25% or 50% exotic germplasm for breeding purposes How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
How do we see GEM helping a small seed company? Participation in GEM is easy and cheap Inbreds are released to cooperators two years ahead of non cooperators Recent inbreds released by GEM are more commercially competitive. How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
How do we see GEM helping a small seed company? Direct Benefits Foliar Diseases resistance to GLS Southern and Northern Corn Leaf Blight Common and Southern Rust Other minor diseases Stalk and/or Ear rot resistance Anthracnosis Diplodiaspp Fusariumspp Drought stress tolerant inbreds Heat stress tolerant inbreds Grain quality- physical and nutritional Nitrogen; Phosphorous; Aluminum efficiency Other traits How US Seed Companies can benefit from GEM?
Why we are confident that GEM is going to evolve with the new trends/new challenges of the modern seed industry?
GEM is adapting to the present and future breeding needs Exotic Adapted Methodology Cooperators and testing Visibility -Sub-committee -Known Het. Testers -Trait Testers? -Elite Found Testers -S.S. Descent -Dihaploids -Improved Assoc. Studies -US -International -Exchange -”Liaisons” -Elite Early -Elite Central -Off patent -Elite Inbreds -Modern Hybrids -Temp. Adapted -Exchange -”Marketing” -ASTA -Breeder’s Meetings -GEM Newsletter Email
Adapted Germplasm Use early for first cross (95RM?) Better Elite Central Corn Belt From Cooperators Off Patent Known heterosis with testers Exotic Germplasm Available Elite Tropical Inbreds- Cimmyt, CIAT, IITA, Asia, Africa, L. America. Public Exchange Modern new Tropical Hybrids- Private or public Temperate adapted Tropical sources- like FS US Testers Elite known heterosis Off patent Traits? Continuous review of our Methodologies Sub-committee Single Seed Descent; Dihaploids; Land Races Relationship Associations Studies- in planning Cooperators Attract more US and non-US companies and institutions Visibility USDA ASTA GEM is adapting to the present and future breeding needs
Conclusion • GEM is the best example of a successful cooperative effort among USDA, Universities and private sector to achieve the goals of increasing germplasm diversity and decreasing genetic vulnerability in the US Corn. • GEM is already producing some interesting inbreds/germplasm for the seed industry • GEM is adapting very quickly to the continuous needs of an evolving seed industry • GEM can benefit smaller and bigger seed companies
That’s all folks! • Questions/Comments?