Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Map of Variation in Maize Genetics Holds Promise for Developing New Varieties

A new study of maize has identified thousands of diverse genes in genetically inaccessible portions of the genome. New techniques may allow breeders and researchers to use this genetic variation to identify desirable traits and create new varieties that were not easily possible before.

Publishing in the Nov. 19 issue of Science, the researchers, whose senior and first author are at Cornell, have identified the first map of haplotypes – sets of closely linked gene variants known as alleles – in the maize genome. They have identified and mapped several million allele variants among 27 diverse inbred maize lines. The lines selected for study included a cross-section of maize types commonly used for breeding while also representing worldwide maize diversity.

The haplotype map “will help develop molecular markers and tools that breeders and geneticists around the world can use to study maize and improve maize varieties,” said Ed Buckler, the paper’s senior author, a USDA-ARS research geneticist in Cornell’s Institute for Genomic Diversity and an adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics. Michael Gore, a graduate student in Buckler’s lab, is the paper’s lead author.

The other co-authors are affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and University of California-Davis.

In the last century, maize breeders have found limitations in recombination (the ability to shuffle genetic variation), where large regions genetic material fail to recombine near the chromosome’s center, called the centromere. To overcome this, breeders have crossed two complementary lines, resulting in a new line with higher yields and vigor.

However, because large regions of the maize chromosome are less accessible, breeders cannot arrive at optimal genetic combinations. The study has revealed a great deal of genetic variation near the chromosomes’ centromeres, which resist recombining. Now, breeders can use molecular markers to identify desirable genetic variants and new genetic technologies to move the desired variation onto the same chromosomes and create new, more productive lines with desired traits.

The study revealed more than 100 large regions (selective sweeps) on the genome where breeders selected for a gene during domestication. In doing so, genetic diversity was lost around those genes.

The study also identified regions of genes shared by all maize species as well as regions that are different based on the geographic adaptations of lines of plants. For example, the study identified almost 200 highly differentiated regions that result from adaptations in tropical and temperate maize.

“This survey of genetic diversity provides a foundation for uniting breeding efforts across the world and for dissecting complex traits through genomewide association studies,” said Buckler.

The first complete sequence of the maize genome appears in the same issue of Science.

The haplotype study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the USDA-ARS.

Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>