In tandem with the VitaMaize investigations, our group is evaluating carotenoid (provitamin A) and tocochromanol (vitamin E) nutritional profiles in grain, as well as whole-plant physiological responses and agronomic productivity, of 350 maize hybrids under combined drought and high-temperature stress. This work is in collaboration with Jill Cairns and Thokozile Ndhlela at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)-Zimbabwe, where three managed stress field trials were conducted in 2015-17. In addition to analyzing genetics and genomics (association studies within maize hybrids to partition both additive and dominance effects) within this key target environment for provitamin A-dense orange maize, candidate lines are being identified for incorporation into the HarvestPlus breeding program. The project objective is to identify, analyze, and achieve further genetic improvement through traditional breeding of nutritious, climate-resilient hybrid maize varieties for the rainfed production areas of southern Africa.
Funding: USAID Borlaug Feed the Future.