Germplasm Enhancement of Maize

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- at Ames location
- at Raleigh location
- from public
TAC Meeting
Personnel Changes
Winter Nursery
Yield Trials
YT Summary
Lab Reports
- Grain Quality
- Oil Quality
- Starch Quality

GEM - 1999 Annual Report

1999 Accomplishments

Ames Location
  • Nearly 12,000 yield plots were conducted at or coordinated from Ames.
  • Twelve breeding crosses were selected for advancement by Ames.
  • Over 1800 topcrossed lines will be available for Corn Belt yield testing in 2000.
  • In trials analyzed to date at Ames, 186 topcrossed S2 lines from GEM breeding crosses beat the average of commercial check hybrids.
  • A field day was held on September 22 at the CAD Uthe farm in Ames, and on September 27 in Harlan IA in cooperation with Wilson Genetics L.L.C.
  • GEM gained six additional private cooperators (SEEDirect, Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Hyland Seeds, Genetica FIL-MEX S.A. de C.V., National Starch & Chemical Co., and Seed Consultants, Inc.) and one public cooperator (Ken Russell, University of Nebraska).
  • A total of 11 public cooperator projects were partially supported financially by GEM.
  • Three fast-track lines with values for range of gelatinization (RnG, a measure of starch quality) less than our target value of less than 5°C were found (DK212T:S0610-10-1-3 with 4.7°C RnG, DK212T:S0610-25-1-1 with 4.7°C RnG, and CUBA164:S2008a-6-1-2 with 4.9°C RnG).
  • Two fast-track lines with values for Peak Height Index (PHI, a measure of starch quality) at our target value for selecting lines were found (DK212T:S0610-25-1-3 with 1.2 PHI and DK212T:S0610-48-1-1 with 1.2 PHI).
  • Several S2 lines with enhanced fatty acid content were found, including FS8A(T)N:1801-6-2, with 1.6% linolenic acid, FS8A(T)N:1801-6-3, with 0.2% linolenic acid, FS8A(T)N:1801-55-4, with 1.1% stearic acid, and FS8A(T)N:1801-34-2, with 7.5% palmitic acid and 9.6% total saturated fatty acids.
  • Along with cooperators at Iowa State University (Pam White and Jay-lin Jane), we were able to receive additional financial support from USDA-NRI and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board for further development and characterization of GEM lines for starch quality.

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Raleigh Location

  • Almost 12,000 yield trial plots were conducted at or coordinated through the Raleigh location in 1999.
  • Approximately 400 entries were in second year trials; over 700 entries were in first year trials.
  • Twelve cooperators (6 companies, 5 universities, and 1 ARS) grew GEM trials coordinated through the Raleigh location at 20 locations across the south, east, and lower Midwest.
  • Twenty GEM 50% tropical breeding populations are at various stages of advancement at the Raleigh location.
  • Almost 2,000 GEM entries were testcrossed either by hand or in isolation blocks at Raleigh or by a cooperator this summer. Approximately 1,000 entries will be testcrossed this winter.
  • Approximately 700 nursery rows were devoted to advancing GEM materials at Raleigh along with 660 observation plots.
  • Over 600 rows of disease plots devoted to GEM materials were grown in 1999. Many of the 50% tropical GEM breeding crosses had Gray Leaf Spot resistance equal to or superior to the resistance check hybrid.
  • Twelve S2 lines from the breeding cross BR51403:N16 that demonstrated superior yield in two years of testing were increased for release. 
  • A single row ear corn picker was donated to the project by Pioneer for harvesting isolation plots.

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Public Cooperators


  • Javier Betran at Texas A&M has advanced and selected new GEM breeding crosses with potential to have aflatoxin resistance, and new derived lines with superior grain quality (energy dense, low linolenic, and high oleic).

  • Larry Darrah, USDA-ARS at Columbia MO, found that UR13085:S1912 had the best combination of good rind penetrometer resistance and vertical root pulling resistance.

  • James Hawk, University of Delaware, is working with lines from DKXL212:N11a which have good grain quality.

  • Although Bruce Hibbard, USDA-ARS at Columbia MO, found no significant differences between GEM breeding crosses in a Western Corn Rootworm evaluation, all but one cross were nominally less damaged than the susceptible control, B37×H84, and twenty-two crosses were nominally less damaged than the resistant control, NGSDCRW1(C4)S2.

  • Robert Lambert at University of Illinois is topcrossing S4 families of BR5101 with good disease resistance and starch values in the range of 69 to 73%.

  • Gary Munkvold, Iowa State University, demonstrated that fumonisin concentrations in inoculated ears were closely correlated with visual disease ratings. This knowledge can greatly increase the cost-effectiveness of evaluating corn germplasm for susceptibility or resistance to Fusarium ear rot.

  • Richard Pratt, Ohio State University, evaluated S2 testcrosses of GEM FS8A(S):S09 S2 that yielded selections at approximately the 10% level and that were highly competitive with the commercial hybrids entered as replicated checks in the tests. These lines will also be selected for grain quality.

  • Jerry Sell at Iowa State University evaluated experimental high-protein GEM lines in chicken feeding trials. Overall, the data show that the greater protein content of the experimental corn could prove advantageous economically for use in feeds of broiler chickens because of a decrease in the amount of the major protein source (soybean meal) needed in diets containing these corns. Additional research should be done with larger supplies of the experimental corns to obtain more definitive information about their feeding value.

  • In 1996 Margaret Smith of Cornell University selected, based on per se anthracnose stalk rot resistance and testcross yield potential, FS8B(T):N1802, CH04030:S0906, AR01150:N0406, and GOQUEEN:N1603. Observations from line development continue to suggest that levels of resistance have been maintained and/or improved, while days to flowering continue to be reduced gradually.

  • Dennis West of University of Tennessee is incorporating into his program southern GEM lines shown to have potential to contribute useful genes to local germplasm.

  • Jim Coors at University of Wisconsin, while evaluating high-yielding topcrosses for silage quality, found two with both excellent yield and quality: CUBA164:S15-64-10 x LH185 and CUBA164:S15-184-1 x LH185. The former had the highest silage yield in the trial, which included check hybrid N4687, one of the highest yielding silage hybrids currently available in the north central region of the U.S. Furthermore, both GEM topcrosses had above average quality for all traits examined (low NDF, ADF, and high IVTD, IVNDFD, and protein). In particular, CUBA164:S15-64-10 X LH185 had excellent digestibility on both a whole-plant and fiber basis. Both topcrosses should continue to be evaluated for silage potential.

  • Wenwei Xu, with Texas A&M in Lubbock, found three GEM breeding crosses with significantly better than the mean of all 77 entries (7.9 cm) in resistance to Corn Earworm Feeding (CEW): CUBA117:S15 (5.1 cm), GUAT209:N19 (5.1 cm), and BR51501:S11a (5.3 cm). Feeding damage below 5-cm is usually considered as an indication of CEW resistance. These crosses may provide new sources of genes to manage drought stress and economic insects.

  • Mark Campbell’s (Truman State University) results comparing amylose levels on GEM materials with near-infrared transmittance spectroscopy (NITS) and an older iodine-based colorometric method using isolated starch suggest that NITS may be useful when a quick screening method is needed to discriminate mutant from non-mutant genotypes especially when visual identification is difficult. Exotic germplasm may be an important source of modifiers to the ae allele since values as high as 70% have were identified.

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Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meetings


December 8, 1998, Chicago, IL:: Dana Eaton and a subcommittee reported the promotion and utilization of GEM materials in private companies. TSG members agreed to promote GEM in their companies. New exotics to use for new breeding crosses where discussed. New exotics were added from Brazil, Peru, and Thailand this winter. 

February 9, 1999, Ames, IA: Items discussed included line recyling by companies, agenda for upcoming ARS review of GEM, protocol for line releases, Ames lab space problems, and budgets.

June 2, 1999, Lebanon, IN: Linda and Marty reviewed their programs and research, and how it relates to their research, coordination, and participation in GEM. A subcommittee was formed to calculate the true cost of GEM, and the cost of the inbreds used in the breeding crosses and in kind support. More work was accomplished on strategy for the GEM ARS Review, especially as relating to data and accessibility, value-added traits, public cooperation, private cooperator needs, and future GEM focus.

September 23, 1999, Ames, IA: Acting ISU Department Head, Tom Loynichan, and Dean David Topel attended to discuss space issues. Terry Nelson, ARS Associate Area Director, discussed GEM’s space problems from the ARS perspective. Ken Ziegler discussed the popcorn seed industry’s discussion and plans to develop a proposal to function as a subgroup of GEM. Dave Harper and Dirk Benson discussed their upcoming trip to ARS administrators and Congressional members in Washington, DC. Kevin Montgomery discussed herbicide tolerances of GEM materials, and the need to take good records on observations. He will give an update at the Cooperator’s meeting in Chicago. Rich Pratt brought up indirect costs problems at his university. He is charged indirect costs on his GEM project. GEM cannot pay indirect costs his university charges his project. These problems will jeopardize GEM’s ability to defray some of the costs of public cooperators.

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Personnel Changes

Ames: Tim Johnson resigned as data manager in March. He was replaced temporarily by Mack Shen, Postdoctoral Associate, in August. Hiep Pham consulted with GEM during the fall on data management. Penny Meyerholz was hired in October as a field technician, replacing Randy Ritland who was transferred.

Raleigh: Joe Hudyncia was hired in March as a field technician. Vickie Brewster, a Support Scientist, spends 40% of her time on GEM data compilation, regional yield trial coordination, and disease trait evaluation.


  • Article “Exotics studied to expand value-added ag” in Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, January 16
  • Article “Use exotic to expand value added products” in Guthrie Center Times, January 13

  • Article “Corn genetics program is a GEM of an idea” in Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, February 6

  • Presentation to NCR-167 of "Fusarium and Gibberella ear rot reactions of exotic maize germplasm" by G.P. Munkvold* and Chandra Gravert, February

  • Presentation to the Northeastern Corn Improvement Conference entitled “Anthracnose stalk rot resistance from exotic germplasm through the U.S. GEM Project” by M.E. Smith, L.F. Alliprandini, and L. Ericson, February.

  • Presentation made to Illinois Corn Breeder’s School entitled, “Developing Temperate Inbreds from Tropical Germplasm: Rationale, Results, and Conclusions” by M. M. Goodman and M. L. Carson, March.

  • Invited presentation of “Improving corn germplasm for yield and value-added traits by introgression of genes from exotic varieties and Tripsacum dactyloides” at The Banbury Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, March 3, by Linda Pollak.

  • Presentation of the poster to the American Oil Chemistry Society of “Utilizing the ‘Fast Track Breeding Technique’ to Alter the Fatty Acid Composition of Corn Belt Corn Oils” by S. Duvick, L. Pollak, N. Shen and P. White, May, New Orleans.

  • Invited presentation of “Lines for Improved Yield and Value-Added Traits Results from GEM” at Popcorn Breeding’99, June 9, Ames, IA.

  • Article “Exotics expand value-added ag” in Iowa Farmer Today, July 3.

  • September News Release by ISU “Corn germplasm field days planned”.

  • Article “Corn germplasm field day focuses on increasing yield, improving quality” in Iowa State Daily, September 22.

  • Field and poster display at Farm Progress Show September 28-30.

  • Publication of Gravert, C.E., and Munkvold, G.P. 1999. Evaluation of exotic corn germplasm for resistance to Gibberella ear rot, 1996-1998. Biological and Cultural Tests for the Control of Plant Diseases. 14:11.

  • Presentation to Fourth African Crop Science Congress of “Germplasm enhancement through cooperative research and breeding using elite tropical and U.S. Corn Belt maize germplasm” by Richard Pratt, P. E. Lipps, G. Bigirwa, and D. Kyetere, Casablaca, Morocco, October.

  • Presentation to The Ohio State University Dept. of Horticulture and Crop Science of "Germplasm Enhancement of Maize: The GEM Project" by R. Pratt, Dec. 10.

  • Article “Plan B for biotech” in The Furrow, December.

  • Ph.D. Dissertation entitled “Quantitative trait loci, and use of the theory for detecting favorable alleles in maize genetic materials” by A. Kraja, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 96 pp.

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Public Cooperators Supported in 1999



$ Funded

Research Supported 

Bruce Hibbard 4500 Evaluate all 50% exotic breeding crosses for western corn rootworm and European corn borer resistance.
Dennis West 5000 Testcross GEM x Tennessee S3 selections. Evaluate these and other southern GEM yield tests.
Gary Munkvold 5000 Evaluate GEM lines for release and other entries (100 total) for ear rot (FUS, GIB, and SUB).
Javier Betran 5500 Develop food-grade GEM lines with superior grain quality and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress.
James Coors 5060 Determine suitability of elite GEM topcrosses for use as silage hybrids.
Larry Darrah 4500 Evaluate topcrosses of S1 lines of UR13085 (best combination of good rind penetrometer resistance and vertical root pulling resistance in 1977 evaluations) to Mo17 Syn(H14)C4 and CarPop(E5)C5.
Margaret Smith 5000 Continuation of line development for anthracnose stalk rot resistance, and evaluate testcross yield potential of early generation inbred families for those most promising for continued stalk rot selection.
Richard Pratt 5000 Continue line development in FS8(A):S09 for yield and grain composition (yield testing, disease resistance, and grain composition analyses).
Robert Lambert 5000 Continue inbreeding and selection in BR51051:N11a12 and DREP150:N2022 families for high starch levels and multiple leaf and stalk rot diseases. Topcross yield tests for BR51051:N11a12.
Wenwei Xu 5000 Evaluate GEM germplasm for drought and corn earworm resistance for developing lines for Texas and the High Plains.
Jim Hawk 4500 Inbred line development in the GEM breeding cross DKXL212:N11a and development of testcrosses for yield and agronomic performance evaluations under Delware irrigated and dryland conditions in 2000.
Raleigh Public Cooperators-- Major Goodman (NC State U.), Neil Widstrom (USDA-ARS, Tifton, GA), Jim Hawk (U. of Delaware), Dennis West (U. of Tennessee), Chuck Poneliet (U. of Kentucky), Javier Betran (Texas A&M U.).

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1999 Cooperative Nursery Work

Private In-kind Nursery Support – Summer 1999

Company Breeding Cross
Beck’s Breeding Crosses
99601 selfing for grain quality
Advance CH05015:N1204
Cargill Advance AR13026:S15
Advance AR16026:S1704
CUBA164:S1517-make S1's
BIGWHITE:S0322-make S1's
FFR Regenerate 5 Breeding Crosses
Advance CASH:N1410
Advance FS8B(T):N1802
Advance AR01150:S0125

Evaluate 1997 Lines for GLS
GlobalAgro DREP150:N2011d-make S1's
Golden Harvest
Advance FS8B(S):S0316
Increasing 1997 Lines for release
99602 selfing for grain quality
Adaptation trial
Great Lakes Advancing AR17056:N2025
Growmark Advancing UR01089:S24
Hoegemeyer Hybrids Advancing FS8B(S):S0316
Holdens Foundation Seeds Advancing FS8B(S):S0301
Hyland Breeding Crosses
Jung Genetics Silage evaluations
Limagrain Advancing ANTIG01:S0225
National Starch CUBA115:S15 best 50 S2's for starch quality
NC+ Advancing AR17056:N2025
Novartis Major Goodman’s crosses
PAU Seeds
Regenerate 12 breeding crosses
99601 and 602 selfing for grain quality
Pioneer H-Bred Advancing UR01089:S0525
Professional Seed Res. Disease Evaluations
Wilson Genetics LLC
Advancing DK212T:S0610 to S3's
Advancing AR13026:S15 S3's
99601 and 602 selfing for grain quality
Advance BR52051:N04 as fast track 
99601 and 602 selfing for grain quality
UR11003:S09-make S1's

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Private In-kind Nursery Support – Winter 1999-2000

Company Breeding Cross
AR13035:S11b28-make S1's (share with Wyffels)
Breeding cross
Bo-Jac CH05015:N1204 topcrosses
Topcross Cargill's AR13026:S15 S2's
Topcross GEM's AR17056:N2025 S2's
Cerestar USA, Inc. Starch quality evaluations on 1998 lines
Monsanto GlobalSeed Group
Topcross DeKalb's AR16026:S1704 S2's
Topcross Bob Lambert's lines
BR52051:N0412-make S1's (fourth)
(share with BoJac 97 and GEM 9900)
Topcross Garst's CASH:N1410 S2's
Topcross Garst's FS9B(T):N1802 S2's
Topcross Garst's AR01150:S0125 S2's
Golden Harvest
Topcross Golden Harvest FS8B(S):S0316 S2's
Breeding Cross
Two Regenerations
Great Lakes
Topcross Great Lakes AR17056:N2025 S2's
AR16021:S0908b-make S1's
Breeding Cross
Hoegemeyer Topcross Hoegemeyer's FS8B(S):S0316 S2's
Holdens Foundation Seeds Topcross Holden’s FS8B(S):S0301 S2’s
Limagrain Topcross Limagrain's ANTIG01:S0225 S2's
Maharlika Genetics
Make S1's --four breeding crosses


National Starch Special protocol for starch quality lines
NC+ Topcross NC+'s AR17056:N2025 S2's
Topcross GEM's FS8B(S):S0316 S2's
Novartis Major Goodman's materials
PAU Seeds AR13026:S15 950416-make S1's
AR16035:S19 950002-make S1's
Pioneer Topcross Pioneer's UR01089:S0525 S2's
Topcross GEM's CHIS775:S1911b S2's

CUBA164:S2012 950155-make S1's
Wilson Genetics LLC Topcrossing
Wyffels Topcross Wyffel's BR52051:N04
Share Beck's AR13035:S11b28


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1999 Cooperative Yield Testing

In all, there were 16 experiments ranging from six to 14 replications, with a total of 119

Plots with Private Cooperators 8567
Plots with Public Cooperators 681
Plots in Ames 2591


1999 GEM Yield Test Entries


50% tropical breeding crosses
25% tropical breeding crosses
50% temperate breeding crosses
25% temperate breeding crosses
Tropical backcrosses

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Private Cooperator Yield Trials


Cooperator Making Topcross
Number of Entries
Number of Replications



























Great Lake












Golden Harvest










Summary of Yield Trial 1999


Cooperators Making Topcross
Tester Type
Number of Entries
Number of Replications



3-SS, 13-nSS




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Data Summary Book

The GEM Project Data Summary provides a complete overview of GEM results throughout the year. The 1999 GEM Data Summary book will contain yield data from all trials both public and private. Public cooperator summaries and data will be also featured as available. The book will be available at the NCR-167 meetings in February as a Compact Disk.

Laboratory Report

Grain Quality

Whole grain composition data was gathered on the GEM original accessions, the S3 GEM 1997 lines for release, new 98/99 S1 lines from breeding crosses, and the AR16035SS02 S2 lines used in a chicken feeding trial using the Near Infrared (NIR) scanner, a nondestructive test. Several GEM original accessions with interesting values (dry matter basis) include:

   • PI493039 (ARZM 17 056), 13.9% protein
   • PI583918 (PI583918), 13.9 protein
   • PI492753 (ARZM 13 035), 5.5% oil
   • PI516022 (ARZM 16 021), 5.7% oil
   • PI583917 (PI583917), 5.6% oil
   • PI483816 (Cuba 117), 5.6% oil
   • PI489361 (Cuba 164), 5.5% oil
   • PI536619 (FS8A(S)) 5.5% oil
   • PI536620 (FS8A(T)), 5.5% oil
   • PI583937 (URZM 05 071), 5.5% oil
   • PI583939 (URZM 11 003), 5.6% oil
These composition values can be compared with the Corn Belt checks of inbred line B73 with 10.4% protein, 3.8% oil, and 70.3% starch; inbred line Mo17 with 11.7% protein, 3.7% oil, and 68.8% starch; and the hybrid B73 x Mo17 with 11.3% protein, 4.0% oil, and 69.3% starch.

Several GEM S31997 lines for release with interesting compositions (dry matter basis) include:

   • CHIS775:S1911b-16-1-B (inventory #9804742) with 14.0% protein
   • DREP150:N2011d-13-1-B (inventory #9804753) with 16.0% protein
   • CH05015:N15-87-1-B (inventory #9804757) 4.8% oil
   • CH05015:N15-8-1-B (inventory #9804758) with 71.6% starch
   • CH05015:N15-101-1-B (inventory # 9804759) with 71.9% starch
   • CH05015:N15-182-1-B (inventory # 9804763) 14.0% protein
   • CH05015:N15-183-1-B (inventory # 9804771) 71.0% starch
   • CH05015:N12-76-1-B (inventory # 9804773) 4.8% oil
   • CH05015:N12-37-1-B (inventory # 9804790) 14.1% protein and 4.8% oil
Jerry Sells, Poultry Nutritionist at Iowa State University, used S2 lines from AR16035:S02 in a chicken feeding trial. Their composition values include:
   • AR16035:SO2-25-5 with 14.1% Protein and 3.7 %oil
   • AR16035:SO2-25-4 with 13.3% Protein and 4.5% oil

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Oil Quality

The poster presentation, “ Utilizing the “Fast Track Breeding Technique” to Alter the Fatty Acid Composition of Corn Belt Corn Oils” by S. Duvick, L. Pollak, N. Shen and P. White was presented at the annual American Oil Chemistry Society meeting in May 1999. The poster showed the fatty acid content of the original GEM accession, FS8A(T), with 12.6 palmitic acid (C16:0), 1.9% stearic acid (C18:0), 46.1% oleic acid (C18:1), 38.7% linoleic acid (C18:2), 0.7% linolenic acid (C18:3), and 14.6% total saturated fatty acids (palmitic acid + stearic acid) was effectively enhanced by crossing the accession with proprietary corn lines from lines from GEM Cooperators. The resulting lines with enhanced fatty acids include: 

   • An S1 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-1, with 60.6% Oleic acid and 24.6% linoleic acid
   • An S1 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-5, with 17.8% oleic acid and 66.5% linoleic acid
   • An S1 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-47, with 16.9% Palmitic acid and 21.0% total saturated fatty acids
   • An S1 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-71, with 4.4% stearic acid
   • An S2 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-6-2, with 1.6% linolenic acid
   • An S2 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-6-3, with 0.2% linolenic acid
   • An S2 line, FS8A(T)N:1801-55-4, with 1.1% stearic acid
   • An S2 line,FS8A(T)N:1801-34-2, with 7.5% palmitic acid and 9.6% total saturated fatty acids

Several starch thermal values are used to determine starch quality. For normal corn starch the Range of Gelatinization (RnG) is approximately 10.9°C, Peak Height Index (enthalpy or energy of gelatinization divided by one half the range) is 0.7,and %R (percent retrogradation, energy of regelatinization of stored gel divided by the original gelatinization value) is 48%. Unusual values for the Fast Track S3 lines from the P96 nursery include:

   • DK212T:S0610-10-1-3 with 4.7°C Rn
   • DK212T:S0610-25-1-1 with 4.7°C Rn
   • CUBA164:S2008a-6-1-2 with 4.9°C RnG
Target value for selecting lines is RnG values of less than 5°C.
   • DK212T:S0610-25-1-1 with 1.4 PHI
   • CUBA164:S2008a-6-1-2 with 1.4 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-10-1-3 with 1.4 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-8-1-1 with 1.3 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-10-1-1 with 1.3 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-14-1-1 with 1.3 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-14-1-2 with 1.3 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-25-1-2 with 1.3 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-17-1-3 with 1.2 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-25-1-3 with 1.2 PHI
   • DK212T:S0610-48-1-1 with 1.2 PHI
The target value for selecting lines is Peak Height Indexes of less than 1.2.

   • DK212T:S0610-34-1-1 with 69.1%R

The target value for selecting lines is percent retrogradation values greater than 80%.


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We are grateful to our Cooperators for their support!


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