In the first look at the molecular diversity of the starch pathway in maize, research at North Carolina State University has found that - in contrast to the high amount of diversity in many of the maize genes previously studied - there is a general dearth of diversity in this particular pathway.
Thats important, says Dr. Ed Buckler, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) researcher, assistant professor of genetics at NC State and one of the studys lead researchers, because molecular diversity essentially provides scientists and plant breeders the raw materials to make the crop better.
"Starch is the main product of maize, and is one of the pathways we want to change the most," Buckler says. "People want to use corn for sweeteners, ethanol production and processed food needs. But some of the genes in the starch pathway cannot be manipulated any more by normal breeding."
Mick Kulikowski | NCSU
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