PRO-MAÏS is a non-profit breeders’ organization with 9 members founded in 1967 that aims to advance the study of and improve maize.
The organization has two main activities: first, conserving maize’s genetic resources; second, developing research projects on the history and biodiversity of maize, its genetics, its breeding methods, and its tolerance.
Pro-Maïs members, in collaboration with INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), have been active in a maize genetic resource network to manage maize genetic resources for the long term. INRA manages the material resources and laboratories while Pro-Mais members co-finance equipment and research projects, ensure the multiplication of genetic material, and test the INRA lines.
In 2009, Pro-Maïs and INRA notified a collection of 530 accessions of maize to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. In 2013, they finished a project called “Zea Diversity”, which developed genetic markers and indicators and identified alleles of interest for drought resistance. Their current research project uses the genetic resources developed in the Diversity Zea project to improve breeders’ elite lines. In 2018, following a survey, “Populations Pyrénéennes,” covering varieties of maize in the Pyrenees valley, they published a book on traditional knowledge regarding these 74 land races.
Jean Beigbeder: email@example.com