Scientists Map Maize GenomeNovember 20, 2009
A team of researchers from the US announced that they have sequenced the genome of maize, an achievement that will boost research efforts to develop higher yielding varieties of one of the world's most important crops. The team, composed of more than 150 scientists, reported their findings in this week's issue of Science. They specifically sequenced the genome of an inbred line of maize called B73.
The team identified some 32,000 genes spread across the crop's 10 chromosomes. They also found that more than 85 percent of the genome is composed of transposable genetic elements and that the crop shares 8,494 gene families with Arabidopsis, sorghum and rice. "Just as cytogenetic and genetic maps revolutionized research and crop improvement over the last century, the B73 maize reference sequence promises to advance basic research and to facilitate efforts to meet the world's growing needs for food, feed, energy, and industrial feed stocks in an era of global climate change," the team wrote in the paper.
Maize's 3.2 billion base pair genome has many things to reveal, as evidenced by numerous companion papers published by Science, PLoS Genetics, PNAS and Plant Physiology analyzing everything from transposable genetic elements, maize centromere evolution, characterization of microRNA genes to hybrid vigor and the crop's evolutionary history.
With the B73 maize genome sequence available, researchers have begun sequencing other maize varieties. Luis Herrera-Estrella and colleagues, for instance, sequenced the variety Palomero, a maize from the Mexican highlands, and compared its features to those of the modern inbred line B73. They found that the genome is around 22 percent smaller and contained 20 percent less repetitive DNA. The team also identified several genes, mainly for heavy metal tolerance, that were present in both B73 and Palomero but were absent in the maize ancestor teosinte. Herrera–Estrella and colleagues suggested that environmental factors related to the metal contents of local soils may have been important in maize domestication.
Catherine Feuillet from INRA France and Kellye Eversole, in a perspectives article also published by Science, noted that "[the studies] represent a milestone in genetics and plant biology, as well as the crowning achievement of a group of corn growers and scientists who envisioned changing the world of agriculture."
The B73 maize genome report is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1178534 Herrera-Estrella and colleagues' paper, on the other hand, is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1178437 The companion papers published by Science are accessible at http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1177837 and http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1178294 The companion studies published by the open-access PLoS Genetics is collected at http://collections.plos.org/plosgenetics/maize.php Read the perspectives paper at http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1183463
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-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
- Scientists Map Maize Genome
- FAO Concludes World Food Summit
- IRRI Aims to Sequence the Genomes of All Different Types of Rice
- FAO and IDB Sign USD 1 Billion Agreement
- Bayer Crop Science and CIMMYT Team up to Improve Cereal Productivity
- IFPRI Selects New Director General
- Danforth Center Receives USD 2.5 Million to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava Plants
- Brazil Approves Two New GM Corn Traits
- Invasive Nettle Moth Triggers Hawaii Research
- Fungi may Hold Key to Reducing Grapefruit Juice Interactions with Medications
- USDA Grants for Specialty Crop Research and Extension
- Controlling the Development of Glyphosate-Resistant Weeds Development
- Malaysia Acquires Molecular Technology to Boost Rice Yield
- BioMalaysia 2009 Takes Off
- India Cannot Oppose GM, Agric Minister Says
- Media Workshop on GMO in Beijing
- EFSA on Bayer's LLRice62 Safety
- AGREENIUM Launched in Europe
- Resistance Management Under Fire
- Effects of Fertilization Type on Abundance of Crop Pests Cannot be Oversimplified
- Plant Stem Cells Commit Suicide To Prevent Genetic Damage
- IFPRI Book Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development
- Conference on Environmental, Industrial, and Applied Microbiology
- PG Economics Released Impact Publications of Biotech Crops
Read the latest:
- Crop Biotech Update (September 21, 2022)
- Genome Editing Supplement (September 21, 2022)
- Gene Drive Supplement (August 31, 2022)
Subscribe to CBU: