Molecular Breeding

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 339–356

Molecular marker-assisted breeding options for maize improvement in Asia

  • B. M. Prasanna
  • Kevin Pixley
  • Marilyn L. Warburton
  • Chuan-Xiao Xie

DOI: 10.1007/s11032-009-9387-3

Cite this article as:
Prasanna, B.M., Pixley, K., Warburton, M.L. et al. Mol Breeding (2010) 26: 339. doi:10.1007/s11032-009-9387-3


Maize is one of the most important food and feed crops in Asia, and is a source of income for several million farmers. Despite impressive progress made in the last few decades through conventional breeding in the “Asia-7” (China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam), average maize yields remain low and the demand is expected to increasingly exceed the production in the coming years. Molecular marker-assisted breeding is accelerating yield gains in USA and elsewhere, and offers tremendous potential for enhancing the productivity and value of Asian maize germplasm. We discuss the importance of such efforts in meeting the growing demand for maize in Asia, and provide examples of the recent use of molecular markers with respect to (i) DNA fingerprinting and genetic diversity analysis of maize germplasm (inbreds and landraces/OPVs), (ii) QTL analysis of important biotic and abiotic stresses, and (iii) marker-assisted selection (MAS) for maize improvement. We also highlight the constraints faced by research institutions wishing to adopt the available and emerging molecular technologies, and conclude that innovative models for resource-pooling and intellectual-property-respecting partnerships will be required for enhancing the level and scope of molecular marker-assisted breeding for maize improvement in Asia. Scientists must ensure that the tools of molecular marker-assisted breeding are focused on developing commercially viable cultivars, improved to ameliorate the most important constraints to maize production in Asia.


Maize Breeding Markers Genetic diversity QTL Stress resistance Quality 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. M. Prasanna
    • 1
  • Kevin Pixley
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marilyn L. Warburton
    • 4
  • Chuan-Xiao Xie
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of GeneticsIndian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI)New DelhiIndia
  2. 2.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)TexcocoMexico
  3. 3.University of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  4. 4.USDA-ARS CHPRRUMississippi StateUSA
  5. 5.Institute of Crop ScienceChinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)BeijingChina