Don Shaver asked that I post this letter to bionet.maize. If you
know of anyone who might have interest in this, please have them
contact Don directly.
WESTERN MAIZE GENETICS
- Creating Specialty Corn Hybrids -
Donald L. Shaver, Ph.D.
20250 Palou Dr.
Salinas, CA 93908-1226
HmPh: 831-455-1492 - Fax: 831-455-0467
Many of you know that I have conjured up an extensive genetic program
directed towards serving the genetic needs of the ornamental corn
industry, which is much larger than generally realized.
Without dredging around in the details, think of it, roundly, as
being about 12 "stem lines", with desirable traits of luster, ear
length, etc, into which I have made ca. 30 color-gene insertions, and
now am making double insertions, often, into each. Multiply it out,
and pick your own number.
Just now, economic return is starting to materialize, and the
prospects are for it to continue on faster. I hear those in the
business saying that the U.S. ornamental seed market now is for ca,
150,000 lbs per year. At ca. $8.00 per lb. that comes to some 1,2
million dollars per year. If the "breeder" took a remuneration of
some 8%, (which would be reasonable), he could have a budget of some
96,000 dollars per year to support his work. And this only counts the
present potential. With the total control, and literally infinite
possibilities made possible by my isoline system, I have no doubt
that the total use of ornamental corn would expand very far beyond
the present usage. Without my explanations, as a geneticist, just let
your imagine roll on: I'm sure you're sharper than I on that score!
Sadly, however, my health is not what it used to be, such that one
ought to try to find an heir, or successor with interest in all of
this. He or she ought to be an expert, really, in Mendelian maize
genetics. "An old war horse", because you know that lots of niggling
things do happen when you move "simple" genes around into different
inbred backgrounds. The whole process is often lumpy, and sometimes a
bit perplexing! (I should tell you).
I look for a successor, because I have invested much in this,
beginning in 1974, and it's just too much, too terrible to think of
it all going down the tubes. I would imagine that an already-retired,
or semi-retired professional man or woman with another 10 or 15 good,
active years would be a great choice. I remember around Marcus
Rhoades' lab, where I studied, there were several such who were great
"bugs" in genetics, and my mind travels towards remembering their
appreciation of colors, esthetics, etc.
I write to open a door, or ring a bell. If an idea comes to mind,
please let me know.
Sincerely, Don Shaver