Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

All Eyes and Ears on the Corn Genome

17.03.2008
A consortium of researchers led by the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., announced today the completion of a draft sequence of the corn genome.

In the fall of 2005 the NSF, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), awarded $32 million to two projects to sequence the corn genome. The goal of the project led by the Washington University GSC is to develop a map-based genome sequence for the B73 inbred line of corn.

This groundbreaking sequencing project was funded by the NSF under the auspices of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The initiative, which began in 1998, is an ongoing effort to understand the structure and function of all plant genes at levels from the molecular and organismal, to interactions within ecosystems. NPGI's focus is on plants of economic importance and plant processes of potential economic value. Sequencing the corn genome is one of the major goals of the current initiative.

"Corn is one of the most economically important crops for our nation," said NSF Director, Arden L. Bement, Jr. "Completing this draft sequence of the corn genome constitutes a significant scientific advance and will foster growth for the agricultural community and the economy as a whole."

According to the USDA, more than 80 million acres of land in the United States is devoted to growing corn, accounting for more than 90 percent of the total value of feed grain.

"Corn is a vitally important crop," said Rick Wilson, lead investigator and director of the GSC. "Scientists will now be able to accurately and efficiently probe the genome to develop new varieties of corn that increase crop yields and resist drought and disease. The information we glean from the corn genome is also likely to be applicable to other grains, such as rice, wheat and barley."

Sequencing the corn genome has been an immense and daunting task. At 2.5 billion base pairs covering 10 chromosomes, this genome's size is comparable to that of the human genome. Corn also has one of the most complex genomes of any known organism and is one of the most challenging genomes sequenced to date. The draft sequence will allow researchers to begin to uncover the functional components of individual genes as well as develop an overall picture of the genome organization. Completing the draft sequence, which covers about 95 percent of the genome, is an important milestone on the way to refining the complete genome sequence.

"Creating a completed draft of the corn genome brings us one step closer to our goal of understanding the functional genetic components that influence hybrid vigor, drought and pest resistance, and asexual plant reproduction or apomixis - all special traits that make corn valuable," said James Collins, head of the Biological Sciences Directorate at the NSF.

The National Corn Growers Association, a strong supporter of the sequencing project and an advocate of the NPGI, notes that elucidating the complete sequence and structure of all corn genes, associated functional sequences and their locations on corn's genetic and physical map, has many potential benefits. These include: creating a model for other major genome sequencing projects, enhancing the efficiency of modern corn breeding programs, increasing understanding of corn's important agronomic traits, and strengthening the physical and intellectual scientific processes of the genetic research community.

Pam Johnson, chairman of the Research and Business Development Action Team for the National Corn Growers Association, adds, "This effort is especially critical at this time in history, when the growing global population looks to corn and other plants to supply food, feed, bioenergy and biobased materials. It is time to learn the language of corn as a model that has great potential and economic significance."

Collaborators contributing to the GSC corn genome research include: Rod Wing from the University of Arizona; W. Richard McCombie, Robert Martienssen, Doreen Ware, and Lincoln Stein from Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory; Patrick Schnable and Srinivas Aluru from Iowa State University; and Richard Wilson and Sandy Clifton from Washington University.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Lily Whiteman, NSF (703) 292-8070 lwhitema@nsf.gov
Program Contacts
Jane Silverthorne, NSF (703) 292-8470 jsilvert@nsf.gov
Erin (Liz) Lawrence, NSF (703) 292-8997 elawrenc@nsf.gov
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.92 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 42,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Lily Whiteman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>