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 Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth
23.03.2018 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht “How trees coexist” – new findings from biodiversity research published in Nature Communications
22.03.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>