Crop Biotech Update

Genome Mapping Technique Speeds Process of Finding Specific Genes

March 31, 2010

Finding the genes associated to a particular character or phenotype is now made easy with the result of a new study published in Nature on genome-wide association mapping. The research which was conducted in Gregor Mendel Institute of Plant Biology in Austria using 93 different Arabidopsis thaliana populations found genetic associations among multiple traits.

Genome-wide mapping compares the sequence of DNA in genome of many individual plants or animals to find similarities that narrow the scope of the search for a particular gene. The study uses single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs at 250,000 sites across the genomes of many individuals. Correlation between the specific trait and the SNPs are analyzed in the genomes of each individual. SNPs that are closely associated with the trait of interest are used to evaluate other individuals to validate the location of the particular gene of interest.

David Salt, a Purdue professor of plant biology and co-author of the paper, said: "We can look for a region in the genome that is in common among the individuals. For plant biologists, it's a much more efficient way of getting to genes. And for animal biologists, where making test crosses is more difficult, this is critical."

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