FSU-Cornell Research Team Discovers 'Dark Matter' in Maize GenomeMay 18, 2016
A team of researchers from Florida State University and Cornell University has proven that a small percentage of the entire maize genome is responsible for almost half of the plant's trait diversity. FSU's Hank Bass and Daniel Vera, together with Cornell University colleagues Eli Rodgers-Melnick and Ed Buckler, found that a small portion of chromatin — the complex of DNA and its associated proteins — accounts for 40 percent of heritable trait diversity in maize.
The discovery means that a small portion of the chromatin holds a vast amount of information that accounts for traits such as plant size, shape, yield, and stress response. The researchers identified areas of open chromatin that regulate genes, using a single cost-effective chromatin profiling procedure developed by the team. They were also able to measure how tightly wrapped DNA is in the genome.
Cornell sent 600 kernels to FSU that were grown into seedlings. Tissue from the roots, stems and leaves was collected and then cell nuclei isolated. The nuclei were exposed to an enzyme that cuts specific portions of the DNA, and the data were computationally and statistically analyzed to identify the open chromatin in the genome.
"It allows us to start pinpointing the single base pair change and mutations that are regulating or allowing plants to adapt to their environment. It helps us narrow down the hunt dramatically," said Edward Buckler, a Cornell University and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research geneticist and a co-author of the paper appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on May 16.
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- U.S. National Academies Find Biotech Crops Not Harmful to Human Health and the Environment
- Glyphosate Unlikely Carcinogenic to Humans, Says Joint WHO/FAO Committee Report
- Cairo University Celebrates Biotech Day 2016
- FSU-Cornell Research Team Discovers 'Dark Matter' in Maize Genome
- Newly Discovered Stem Cell Pathway Will Increase Yields of Maize and Staple Crops
- Parliamentary Report Confirms Importance of Agricultural Innovation in Australia
- Bt Cotton Adoption Creates More Employment Opportunities in Female Laborers in Pakistan
- Chinese Scientists Evaluate Performance of Plant Gene as a Selectable Marker for Rice Transformation
- Agri Minister Matia Chowdhury Speaks on Biotech Efforts in Bangladesh
- First State of the World's Plants Report Launched
- Asian Corn Borer Parasite Not Sensitive to Bt Toxin
- MdMLO19 Gene Knockdown in Apple Reduces Susceptibility to Powdery Mildew
- Researchers Analyze Rice QTL for Grain Size and Yield
Beyond Crop Biotech
- Scientists Genetically Engineer First Zika Virus Clone
- SolGenomics Conference
Subscribe to CBU: