The Science Behind Maize Hybrids

Seeds of the Future Science Still

Farming in Africa can often be traumatic. Crop failures are not uncommon. In “Seeds of the Future,” maize farmer Zeka Twoboy cites the challenges he faces, including pests and changes in climate, and recounts how Dupont Pioneer® maize brand hybrid 30G97 seeds enabled him to overcome the elements. While trying out different seeds, he had such a huge harvest on his small plot of land that people in his village accused him of using magic and witchcraft.

Maize hybrids are created by crossing, or breeding, two different inbred parent lines with desired characteristics to combine into a hybrid. To develop stellar seed performers, Pioneer’s researchers evaluate multiple generations of inbreds and use computer networks and other technologies to help them select the best-performing plants. When an inbred exhibits genetic purity and consistently delivers high yield, it is identified as a potential parent. Tens of thousands of hybrid maize crosses are made every season, however, less than one percent of these hybrids will meet the requirements to be a commercial hybrid. With the impacts of climate change and rising populations, hybrids play an important role in combating world hunger.

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