Rapid and Efficient Production of High Lysine and High Methionine Quality Protein Maize

Lysine and methionine content of novel Quality Protein Maize lines, the opaque high lysine line W64A o2, and non-transgenic AxB. Observe that PE5, α-γ- kernels have the highest lysine and methionine levels, but are opaque. PE5, γ- has high lysine and methionine levels and a vitreous kernel, making it the best candidate for QPM animal feed.

Invention Summary:

Rapid production of novel Quality Protein Maize (QPM) lines with improved protein quality and vitreous kernels, suitable for animal feed without synthetic methionine supplementation. Conversion of elite lines to QPM using the invention is 2x faster than generating a “classical” QPM.

Maize kernels contain low levels of the amino acids lysine and methionine, necessitating supplementation of corn-based animal diets with soybean and synthetic  methionine at a major cost. Opaque2 (o2) maize mutants have high lysine levels, but their kernel endosperm is soft and starchy, making them unsuitable for storage. The o2 mutation has been combined with modifying factors to create QPM lines, which have a vitreous, hard kernel suitable for storage, but still low methionine levels. The current invention utilizes transgene stacking to create QPM maize superior to the opaque line with the highest kernel lysine, W64Ao2.

Market Applications:

  • Animal feed
  • Pet food
  • Corn products
  • Sweetcorn


  • Superior protein content with high lysine and methionine levels.
  • Vitreous kernels suitable for storage and transportation.
  • No yield loss compared to non-transgenic parent line.
  • Leads to rapid weight gain in chicken when used in feed formulation without methionine supplementation.
  • Fast conversion of elite lines to QPM (8 vs. 17 generations of classical QPM breeding).

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

US Patent 9,603,317 and patent pending. Available for  licensing  and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Deborah Perez
Associate Director, Physical Sciences & Ag
Rutgers University