The first meeting of the ECPGR Working Group (WG) on Maize was held 2-3 December 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia. It was organized in collaboration with the Maize Research Institute Zemun Polje, Belgrade and financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Twenty WG members and five observers came together to discuss the tasks of the Maize Working Group and to get to know each other. The WG has the aim to create a community, to optimize the use of resources, to identify short-term cooperation opportunities and to discuss new actions. Each participant presented the status of maize genetic resources in their respective country and then the group discussed and agreed on a workplan for collective activities.
The Maize Core Collection created by the partners of the EU-funded project GENRES 088 is planned to be expanded with representative accessions from more countries. Crop-specific conservation standards will be adapted on the basis of the FAO Genebank standards. It was also agreed to use the existing key-descriptors for common minimum descriptors.
The procedure developed by the initiative for “A European Genebank Integrated System” (AEGIS) for the identification of suitable accessions for inclusion in the AEGIS European Collection will be promoted. The issue of the presence of redundant duplications of accessions in the European genebanks will be addressed with an overview of all maize accessions recorded in EURISCO.
Following the example of the Albanian genebank, monographies about maize varieties will be prepared in local languages and in English, and the various uses of maize for human consumption will be inventoried in a few countries. The idea of genotyping inbred lines and landraces will be used for a possible project submission to the ECPGR Grant Scheme.
In addition to these proposals, the Maize Working Group formulated a project proposal to add a ”Maize component” to the European Evaluation Network (EVA), for submission to the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Funds for supporting this Working Group meeting were provided by Fed Rep of Germany