EU Genres 088

EU Genres 088 Results

Progress of the project

Sofar, several aims of the project have been achieved. The following results will be presented:

The European maize landraces genetic resources survey

During the first year of the project the information provided by the participants made it possible to create an overview of maize landrace germplasm conservation in the European Union (at the start of the project).
The elements of this elementary description are:

As an example of the germplasm in the collections, a brief but richly illustrated overview of the Greek collection will be presented.

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Generally, collecting has been made during the sixties, when hybrids were present, but not yet to a large extent and all the maize-cropping regions are represented. The number of ears collected by sample varies from 1 to 20, more often from 5 to 10, in all countries. This number is low. However, as a high number of population has been collected by region, it can be expected that a large part of genetic variability has been rescued. So, we can consider that our collections are representative enough of the initial genetic diversity and are worth to be dealt with.

The total numbers of native maize landraces have been scored for each country. The following numbers includes duplicates and also some accessions with poor germinating rate.


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Conservation methods

Conservation equipment is generally good enough. However, Italy and Greece have not yet satisfactory long term conservation equipment in agreement with the recommendations of IPGRI. This situation results in frequent regenerations, which increases the risks of genetic drift and the global conservation cost.
Amount of conserved seeds is very variable, from 12 balanced samples of 600 kernels to less than 700 bulked kernels for a landrace.

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Regeneration methods

Regeneration varies in a large extent according to the countries. The number of ears varies from 200 issued from full-sib crossings to 20 ears issued from half-sib crossing. With this last method, the effective size can be very low, as there is no control of pollen. Thanks to the present programme, some landraces intended to be entered in the core-collection, should be regenerated in a satisfactory way.

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Characterisation and documentation

The situation is quite different according to the countries. Some countries (France, Italy) have already designed a National Maize Landrace Representative Collection (NMLRC). Some others are in progress, or at an initial phase.

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Maize landraces conserved in Greece

The Greek collections of maize landraces are maintained at the Cereal Institute of Thessaloniki (71 accessions) and at the Gene Bank which was founded later and established in the same area (184 accessions). These 255 landraces were collected from all over the country as can be seen on the following illustration.

Click on the image for a full size version.

The Greek landraces contain an amazing genetic diversity. Most maize phenotypes can be found in the Greek material. All landraces in the collections have been photographed. To illustrate the diversity found in Greece, pictures of the 50 accessions that constituted the Greek Restricted Maize National Core Collection (selected in the framework of this project) can be accessed below.
Pictures of Greek landraces

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The European Union Maize Landrace Database (EUMLDB)

An important objective of the project was to create a database of the landraces conserved in the European Union. This was achieved in three steps:

  1. a descriptor list was compiled
  2. an interface was created which allows easy access to the data
  3. the data from the participants were collected and loaded.

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Descriptor list

During the first year, a descriptor list was set up, by taking into account different kind of requirements :

  • First, the maize descriptors list and format of IPGRI, 1990
  • Second, the standards defined at the 17 February 1997 Budapest meeting, about Multicrop Passport Descriptors
  • Third, the specific needs of the RESGEN88 project.

The objectives of standardisation were also minded. However, in case of disagreement, choices have been made. Thus, the format of latitude and longitude of the collecting site includes the literal value (E or W) before the digital values. The collecting date is expressed in the format YYYYMMDD because the more common situation is when the year data has been got. So, the missing data don’t cause any trouble in the sorting. The format generally used for descriptors « collecting source » and « status of sample » is also different from the one used in the Multicrop Passport Descriptors.

This resulted in the following list:

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List of descriptors of the European Union Maize Landrace Database (EUMLDB)

This list is subdivided in:

Passport descriptors

1. Institute code (INSTCODE) Identification of the genebank where the landrace is maintained. Instcode is constituted by the 3-letter ISO country code plus number as specified in Institute database made available by FAO. 2. Accession number (ACCNUM) This number serves as unique identifier for accessions . Constituted by the above INSTCODE + number assigned to the sample when entering in the collection. 3. Collecting number (COLLNUM) Original number assigned by the collector 4. Species (SPECIES) Genus And Species 5. Accession name (ACCNAME) Either a registered or other formal cultivar designation given to the accession. 6. Synonym (SYNONYM) Other different name 7. Country of origin (ORIGCTY) ISO code of the country (3 letters) where the landrace has been collected.. 8. Region of origin (ORIGREG) Refers to subdivision below the country level where the landrace has been collected. 9. Subregion of origin (ORIGSRG) Refers to subdivision below the region level where the landrace has been collected. 10. Location of collecting site (COLLSITE) Town, village or site where the landrace has been collected. This field, as the three above ones, is written in national language, but in capital letters, in order to avoid to use ASCII characters upper than 127. 11. Latitude of collecting site (LATITUDE) Latitude of the collecting site (degrees and minutes) in the form C N N N N (C= N or S) 12. Longitude of collecting site (LONGITUDE) Longitude of the collecting site (degrees and minutes) in the form C N N N N N (C= E or W) 13. Elevation of collecting site (ELEVATION) Meters above sea level 14. Collection date (COLLDATE) Date of collecting in the form YYYYMMDD 15. Status of sample (SAMPSTAT) Genetic type of material. 1= Wild and related species 2= Weedy 3= Landrace 4= Breeder line 5= Advanced cultivar 99= Other 16. Collecting source (COLLSRC) 1= Wild habitat 2= Farm land 3= Farmstore 4= Backyard 5= Village Market 6= Commercial Market 7= Institute/ Research organisation 8= Other (included in REMARKS) 17. Donor institute (DONCODE) Code for the donor Institute. As INSTCODE 18. Donor number(DONNUM) Code assigned to an accession by the donor. As ACCNUM 19. Other number(OTHERNUM) Any other number known to exist in other collection for this accession. 20. Memo (REMARK) Any relevant information about circumstances of collecting or utilisation or miscellaneous. 21. Year of last regeneration (REGYEAR) In the form YYYY. 22. Amount of seeds available (SEEDAVL) In grams. For a germination rate > 80% 23. Type of collection (COLLTYPE) Belonging to : 1= National Maize Landrace Representative Collection (NMLRC) 2= European Union Maize Landrace Core Collection (EUMLCC).


Primary descriptors

24. Kernel type 1 (KERTYPE1) Indicates first kernel type in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 11 1= Floury 2= Semi-floury 3= Dent 4= Semi-dent 5= Semi-flint 6= Flint 7= Pop 8= Sweet 9= Opaque 10= Tunicate 11= Waxy 25. Kernel type 2 (KERTYPE2) Indicates second kernel type in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 11 As KERTYPE1 26. Kernel type 3 (KERTYPE3) Indicates third kernel type in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 11 As KERTYPE1 27. Kernel colour 1 (KERCOLO1) Indicate first kernel colour in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 12 1= White 2= Yellow 3 =Purple 4= Variegated 5= Brown 6= Orange 7= Mottled 8= White cap 9= Red 10= Blue 11= Dark blue 12= Pink 28. Kernel colour 2 (KERCOLO2) Indicate second kernel colour in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 12 As KERCOLO1 29. Kernel colour 3 (KERCOLO3) Indicate third kernel colour in order to frequencies. Numeric values from 1 to 12 As KERCOLO1 30. Cob colour 1(COBCOLO1) Indicate first cob colour in order of frequencies . Numeric values from 1 to 6 1= White 2= Red 3= Brown 4= Purple 5= Variegated 6= Other 31. Cob colour 2 (COBCOLO2) Indicate second cob colour in order of frequencies . Numeric values from 1 to 6 As COBCOLO1. 32. Number of kernel rows (average) (NOKEROA)33. Number of kernel rows (maximum) (NOKEROM)34. Ear shape (EARSHAPE) 1= Very cylindrical 3=.Cylindrical 5=Intermediate 7= Conical 9= Very conical 35. Growing degree units to female flowering (GDUFEM) Evaluation of earliness. (Tmax + Tmin)/2 -6 from sowing date. Tmax < 30°C

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During 1998, an user-friendly application was set up based on the DBMS software package MS Access. It allows anybody to:

  • consult the passport data and primary descriptors of any European landrace, if its accession number is known
  • search landraces meeting a number of specified criteria (passport data and primary descriptor)
  • get any useful information about the location and addresses of the genebank involved in its conservation.

Besides, it allows exporting information in a very easy way to Excel or Word files. This picture shows an example of a search screen.

Download EUML Data Base

To open the Data Base, after unzipped, use MSACCESS97
Nowadays, you also can look at the data by using the on line maize database at the following link: EuropeanUnionMaizeLandraceDataBase.xlsx. These data include all the landraces from the RESGEN88 project and also the French National Collection (maize landraces, synthetics, inbred lines).Top of page



The passport data from the participants have been compiled at the end of 1997 in a MS Access database. The primary descriptions are still being collected and loaded. This is expected to be completed in the third year. In this year the EUMLDB will be completed, and the diffusion will take place.

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Progress in the third year

In 1999 four main tasks were under way :

  1. The morphological characterization has been completed.
  2. The NMLRC’s – National Maize Landrace Representative Collections – have been constitued. They are the collections defined at a national level, and gathering landraces representative of the whole collections of each country.
    France80 Espagne90 Italy90 Greece50 Germany15 Portugal70
  3. Secondary molecular characterization has been carried out by partner 4 in Pontevedra (CSIC, Spain, isoenzymes) and by partners 1 and 5 (INRA, France, and ISC, Italy, RFLP). This work is going on next year.
  4. Evaluation of the European Union Maize Landrace Representative Collection (EUMLRC) for NIRS digestibility. This work had begun in 1998, and will go on in 1999. This task is carried out by partner P3 (CIAM), in Mabegondo, Spain.

This third year constitutes the central part of the project, as the gathering of morphological data inside each country is finished, and molecular characterization related to the materials representative of the whole variability is running.

The database is now accessible to anybody having an Access 97 package, through Internet.

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Progress in the fourth year

Two main results have been got in 2000 : a better knowledge of the structuration of the variability mainly founded on the neutral markers which is an interesting scientific result, and the core-collection which is intended to be a key tool for the European maize breeders.

Clustering the molecular data made it possible to overview the European diversity. It shows a strong relationship with the geographic origin. Three poles can be highlighted :

  • a Western one including populations from Portugal, Northern Spain and Pyrenean mountains, both Spanish and French,
  • a second Mediterranean one gathering landraces from South Spain, Italy, and Greece,
  • and a third one including some German, Eastern French and Northern Italian landraces.

The map locates the geographical origin of the landraces and indicates the genetic clustering resulting from the analysis of neutral RFLP polymorphism.

The constitution of the European Union Maize Landrace Core Collection (EUMLCC) is a central work of the project and was fully implemented on the fourth year. It was constituted by using both a powerful tool of sampling, MSTRAT, (see below in this website) and also using the expertise of the breeders of each country by sampling inside the clusters the populations having the best agronomic interest. It consists of 96 populations from the following countries : France :16 populations, Spain 24, Italy 19, Greece 12, Germany 8, Portugal 17.

Another major result fully implemented on fourth year is the evaluation of the European Union Maize Landrace Representative Collection (EUMLRC ) for the digestibility as green forage. More than 400 landraces from all countries of the European Union are been scored at Mabegondo, Xunta de Galicia. Centro de Investigaciones de Mabegondo (CIAM).

Digestibility, expressed as % of Digestible Organic Matter (DMO) ranged from 68.15 to 47.21 (LSD 5% = 2,6). The combined analysis of variance for the two years shows a clear year effect, probably related to the moment of harvesting.

A calculated index taking into account the year effect makes it possible to overview all the studied populations. The DMO of the used checks, which are commercial hybrids, ranged from 60 to 62 %. Assuming a DMO >63 would present some interest, it is useful to look at the origin of such populations. The following table present the number of populations per country with a DMO > 63.

Populations with DMO > 63 (Number)Populations with DMO > 63 As percentage
FRANCE1013 %
SPAIN3227 %

The European Union Maize Landrace Core Collection (EUMLCC)

ESP0070127CANTABRIA827Very cylindricalFlintBrown
ESP0090025ENANO LEVANTINO X HEMBRILLA982IntermediateDentYellow
ESP0090067NORTEÑO LARGO1011CylindricalFlintYellow
ESP0090300SAJAMBRECASTILLA Y LEON742CylindricalSemi-flintOrange
ESP0090315BASTO X BLANCO1094ConicalSemi-dentWhite
ESP0090343FINO X TREMESINO1018CylindricalDentYellow
ESP11981040MILLO DO PAISGALICIA883CylindricalFlintWhite
ESP11981047MILLO DO PAISGALICIA930CylindricalSemi-dentYellow
ESP11982012MILLO DO PAISEUSKADI969CylindricalFlintYellow
ESP11982019MILLO DO PAISEUSKADI869CylindricalFlintYellow
ESP11982031MILLO DO PAISEUSKADI919IntermediateFlintYellow
ESP11985020MILLO DO PAISGALICIA941CylindricalFlintWhite
ESP11985022MILLO DO PAISGALICIA835CylindricalFlintYellow
FRA0410006BADEALSACE814Very cylindricalFlintYellow
FRA0410636MARMANDE.19AQUITAINE1026Very cylindricalFlintWhite
GRC0010012CENTRAL MACEDONIA952IntermediateFlintYellow
GRC0010084WEST MACEDONIA894IntermediateFlintYellow
GRC0010085AEGEAN ISLANDS775CylindricalSemi-flintWhite
GRC0010160WEST MACEDONIA819IntermediateFlintYellow
GRC0010172IPIROS917Very conicalSemi-dentWhite
GRC0010179PELOPONNISOS792Very conicalFlintOrange
ITA0370005NOSTRANO DELL’ISOLAPIEMONTE1066Very cylindricalFlintOrange
ITA0370024CARAGUA BIANCOPIEMONTE1086CylindricalDentWhite
ITA0370026MELGUN BIANCOPIEMONTE1066Very cylindricalDentWhite
ITA0370058SCAGLIOLOLOMBARDIA964Very cylindricalSemi-flintYellow
ITA0370088SCAGLIOLO FRASSINEVENETO1079CylindricalDentYellow
ITA0370100BIANCO PERLAVENETO1131CylindricalFlintWhite
ITA0370152SCAGLIOLO MARNETRENTINO-A.A.1019CylindricalSemi-flintOrange
ITA0370154MARANO VICENTINOTRENTINO-A.A.914Very cylindricalFlintOrange
ITA0370171GIALLO TOSORATTIFRIULI-V.GIULIA1092Very cylindricalDentYellow
ITA0370195GRANOTURCO DI NELIGURIA1054CylindricalSemi-flouryYellow
ITA0370466GIALLO LOCALEBASILICATA1135CylindricalSemi-flouryOrange
ITA0370475BIANCO PRECOCEBASILICATA1004CylindricalSemi-flintWhite
ITA0370477VINATOBASILICATA1035Very cylindricalSemi-flintOrange
PRT00100019MILHO AMARELOLEIRIA914Very conicalFlintYellow
PRT00100049MILHO VERDIALCOIMBRA929Very cylindricalFlintYellow
PRT00100088MILHO AMARELOVISEU672IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00100120MILHO AMARELOPORTO837IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00100291MILHO MORENOVIANA DO CASTELO902CylindricalFlintWhite
PRT00100394MILHO BRANCOVISEU837ConicalFlintYellow
PRT00100530MILHO PICHORROFARO1178ConicalFlintOrange
PRT00100569MILHO AMARELO GIGANTEFARO1141ConicalFlintYellow
PRT00100815MILHO DE CUNHAPORTALEGRE883IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00100828MILHO AMARELOEVORA864IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00100867MILHO MIUDO CHARNEQUINHAEVORA691IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00100916MILHO DE SEQUEIRO, RATINHOEVORA716IntermediateFlintYellow
PRT00101526MILHO AMARELOBRAGA957ConicalFlintWhite

EU ResGen 88 Home

The project is supported by the European Commission under the Genetic Resources in Agriculture Programme. The contents of these pages is the sole responsability of its publisher(s). These pages in no way represent the views of the Commission or its services.
They have been achieved in collaboration with « Th.J.L. van Hintum » and Herman Nijland. Last update 3/05/2001 by Régine Aliaga. Comments and questions to: Jacques Dallard.