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Maize Genetics Cooperation • Stock Center:
A Bank of Genes

For many years, genetic marker stocks have been developed by maize geneticists and shared in a spirit of cooperation and generosity that is a legacy of R.A. Emerson and his coworkers. This sharing of stocks became formalized with the establishment of the Maize Genetics Cooperation in 1932. The Maize Genetics Cooperation • Stock Center moved to the University of Illinois in 1953 and is now the main repository for maize mutants utilized in research by cooperators worldwide. It is an essential resource to maize scientists conducting basic and applied biological research.

The goal of the Maize Genetics Cooperation • Stock Center is to contain and make available all known natural and induced allelic and cytological variations for maize. These mutants define metabolic, developmental, and other biological processes that are studied by maize scientists including geneticists, molecular biologists, physiologists, and breeders. In addition to supplying seeds, the Maize Genetics Cooperation • Stock Center will supply all known information about the mutants in our collection. The materials at the stock center also are available to educational institutions for teaching purposes.

While the vast majority of the mutants in the collection are too extreme for commercial use and are not usually evaluated and maintained with a view to their direct use in improving agricultural production or products, some of the mutants in the collection clearly have had a major impact of commercial importance. These include the white endosperm mutants, several of the mutants involved in starch biosynthesis (e.g., su1 and sh2 have been important in sweet corn production, wx1 gives starch high in amylopectin, and ae1 gives starch high in amylose), and ig1 for use in making double haploids, enabling the rapid production of new inbred lines. The other mutants give maize scientists a greater understanding of corn as a biological organism and can lead to applications that will improve corn agronomically.

Martin M. Sachs, Assistant Professor
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 244-0864; msachs@illinois.edu

Philip S. Stinard, Curator
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 333-6631; pstinard@illinois.edu

Janet Day Jackson, Senior Research Specialist
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 333-6631; j-day@illinois.edu

Shane A. Zimmerman, Research Specialist
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 333-6631; sazimmer@illinois.edu

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College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
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