Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Jamaya Carter - Talladega College
Co-Author(s): Desmond G. Mortley, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Drought is the most limiting factor for corn production and is high among the criteria considered by farmers when selecting varieties. Also availability of varieties tolerant to drought is still a problem that needs to be addressed. Due to issues with climate change rainfall patterns have been disrupted and are no longer reliable sources of moisture to produce a complete crop and corn needs about 635 mm of water from planting to harvest for optimum production. Breeding for drought tolerant maize have been performed in many countries, and hybrid together with genetically modified varieties are available. In the US there are numerous maize drought tolerant varieties such as AQUAmax hybrid developed by Pioneer, Droughtgard GM by Monsanto & Agrisure Artesian by Syngenta. We hypothesize that drought tolerant plants will perform better in terms of grain yield than drought susceptible plants. Therefore, the objectives of the study are to 1) compare water use, grain yield and growth performance of several corn varieties under well-watered and water stressed conditions, and 2) profile the expression of genes associated with drought tolerance during grain filling. Ten accessions will be grown in a randomized complete block design with three replications in a greenhouse and field. Each replication will consist of three -row plots 5m long and 1 m wide. In all plots water will be applied through furrow irrigation. Drought stress will be imposed by reducing irrigation by half from the 10 fully expanded leaf stages to two weeks after flowering. Leaf samples will be collected at different development stages for RNA fingerprinting to gain insight into the mechanism of drought tolerance in maize. Varieties will be assessed based on plant survival/population, photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration, total leaf area, silking date, plant height and ear length and grain yield. Germplasms with optimum response under water stressed conditions will be termed as drought tolerant.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I thank my mentor Dr. Desmond G. Mortley. Funding was providing by NSF-REU grant.
Faculty Advisor: Desmond G. Mortley,