Maize Genetics Cooperation € Stock Center

USDA/ARS/MWA - Plant Physiology and Genetics Research Unit


University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign - Department of Agronomy

S-123 Turner Hall 
1102 South Goodwin Avenue 
Urbana, IL 61801-4798
(217) 333-6631 [phone]
(217) 333-6064 [fax]
maize@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu [internet]

During 1993, 2,758 seed samples were provided in response to 301 requests. These totals include 688 seed samples provided in response to 57 requests from 17 foreign countries. The total number of requests exceeds all previous annual totals.

As a result of heavy rainfall, most genotypes grew well but there were more disease and insect problems than normal. Still, we obtained good increases on most stocks that were grown. We had extensive plantings of traits located on Chromosomes 1, 2, and 3, and plantings of stocks in short supply on Chromosomes 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Increases were made of the wx1 marked translocation set, and new wx1 marked translocations submitted by Donald Robertson and Paul Sisco were increased. It is expected that the new translocation stocks will be ready for distribution within a year or two. Special increases were made of viviparous and yellow stripe mutants of unknown allelism. Field plantings were made of mature plant traits in order to confirm pedigrees. Greenhouse sand bench plantings are being conducted on a record scale in order to confirm seedling mutants. We are hoping that funds for new greenhouse space become available for FY95, so that mutant stocks that do not do well under field conditions can be grown and seedling tests can be done more efficiently.

Philip Stinard has joined us this past May and assumed the role of Curator of the Maize Genetics Cooperation € Stock Center. Earl Patterson continues to play a very active role, allowing for a very smooth transition in the operations at the stock center. Janet Day went from half-time to full-time, as a research specialist with the stock center at the beginning of the year. In addition, two graduate students are presently doing their dissertation research at the stock center. Mirian Maluf is studying a mutable allele of a novel viviparous locus, and Dinakar Bhattramakki is studying polymorphism at the globulin1 locus.

During the year, work on our second coldroom, which essentially doubles current seed storage capacity, was completed and is now fully operational. The new cold room is currently serving as a repository for newly acquired maize collections. We have obtained stocks from the collections of Marcus Rhoades, George Sprague, and Donald Robertson, and are in the process of obtaining stocks from the collections of Barbara McClintock, Charles Burnham, and Walton Galinat. We expect the collection to expand considerably over the next few years to accommodate the collections of maize geneticists retiring from active research.

As the maize gene list expands, we are becoming aware of deficiencies in the Stock Center collection. During the coming year, we call upon all maize researchers to contribute mutants in their possession that are not in the collection. Loss of these stocks would represent an irreparable loss of knowledge. Only by propagating these mutants for posterity does the original research done on these mutants preserve its meaning. Mutants that are lost become dropped from the gene list, and they become the object of longing for young researchers poring through dusty volumes of newsletters past. Don't disappoint them. Lost mutants mean that experiments cannot be replicated and expanded upon. If experiments cannot be replicated, conclusions could be discarded. Think about it.

Because of the increasing size of the Stock Center collection and the Stock Center's limited resources, stocks that are rarely requested (particularly multiple combinations of mutants that span 50+ centimorgans, that have phenotypes that are difficult to distinguish from one another, or that show a high degree of redundancy with other stocks) will be dropped from the Stock Center catalogue; however, these stocks will be placed in long term storage at the National Seed Storage Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado, and will still be available upon request. We hope to have a list of such stocks by next year. Regardless of which combinations are discontinued, all individual mutants will be actively maintained and supplied from the Stock Center.

We have started accepting stock requests via e-mail (our internet address is maize@uiuc.edu). We have begun entering stock pedigree and availability data into our internal database (using 4th Dimension software on a Macintosh Quadra 950 computer). This information will make pedigree analysis and planting decisions easier.

We have been continuing our collaboration with Ed Coe's efforts in creating the Maize Genome Database (MaizeDB). This is part of the Plant Genome Database (PGD) effort being sponsored by the National Agriculture Library (see details elsewhere in the Newsletter). We have plans to tie our internal stock center database in with MaizeDB (and therefore also with the PGD at NAL and also with GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) to allow users access to the latest information about available maize genetic stocks. Presently, our list of available stocks is accessible via gopher from PGD and MaizeDB (the full Sybase version is now accessible to researchers). With the help of Quinn Sinnott, data on available maize genetic stocks has also been entered into GRIN. A list of available stocks will continue to be published annually as part of the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter.

We anticipate that in addition to current methods for requesting stocks, a user will be able to find a stock of interest on an on-line database and directly request stocks from within the database program. The request will be transmitted electronically through the internet to us.

Marty Sachs                 Earl Patterson               Philip Stinard              Janet Day
Director                        Co-director                   Curator Research         Specialist

Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors

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