Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Find Diversity Blueprint to Help Maize Adapt to Changing Climates

February 8, 2017

A landmark study using advances in genomics has helped analyze and characterize the DNA of over 4,000 landrace maize varieties from across the Americas.

Researchers from the MasAgro Biodiversidad (MAB)/Seeds of Discovery (SeeD) in Mexico developed a unique experimental strategy to learn more about the genes underlying maize adaptation. The study identified 100 genes from the 40,000 that make up the maize genome which influence adaptation to latitude, altitude, growing season, and the point at which maize plants flower in the field.

"This research offers a blueprint of how we can rapidly assess genetic resources for a highly variable crop species such as maize, and identify, in landraces, those elements of the maize genome which may benefit breeders and farmers," said molecular geneticist Sarah Hearne. Hearne leads maize research within MAB/SeeD, a collaboration led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

For more information, read the news release from CIMMYT.