DES MOINES, Iowa, and AMES, Iowa – DuPont, through its Pioneer Hi-Bred business, has awarded a grant to Iowa State University to establish a corn breeding program through support of a new faculty position and a graduate research position.
This position will be a leading authority on the application of modern technologies to plant breeding. Support for corn research and education of tomorrow’s plant breeders enables continued innovation in agriculture and delivery of products which help growers meet increasing agricultural demands.
The assistant professor position will lead research in corn breeding using advanced molecular marker and genomics technologies, teach coursework in plant breeding and advise graduate students. In addition to the grant, Pioneer will provide in-kind support to the research program through use of germplasm, world-class lab and field testing resources and molecular markers.
“Pioneer and Iowa State University have a long history of collaborating to improve productivity and profitability for growers,” said Geoff Graham, vice president, Pioneer Americas Maize Research. “Iowa State University is a premier institute for plant breeding and we are looking forward to utilizing our diverse germplasm and technologies to educate the next generation of breeders.”
Pioneer founder Henry A. Wallace received his degree from Iowa State, forming the foundation of a strong interaction between Iowa State and Pioneer. Since then, the two organizations have entered into a number of collaborations aimed at advancing knowledge in agricultural science, with scientists from both organizations coauthoring a number of scientific and grower publications.
“The Department of Agronomy and its corn-breeding project have a long history of working with Pioneer that dates back to Raymond Baker, the first corn breeder hired by Henry A. Wallace. This agreement is a continuation of a long and fruitful relationship between two organizations that are committed to agriculture,” said Kendall Lamkey, chair of the agronomy department and Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding.
The Department of Agronomy, which celebrated its centennial in 2002, began its corn-breeding program in 1922 with the first hybrids available for planting in 1933. The department released B73, which became the most important inbred line in the maize industry and the parent of nearly half of all corn produced in temperate regions of the world. Iowa State geneticists did much of the work in the national effort to sequence the corn genome using that hybrid, which was developed in the 1970s.