Biotech Updates

Geneticists Use MAGIC to Test Corn Genes

September 16, 2010

Geneticists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue University have developed a new method for testing gene function in maize plants. This new method called "mutant-assisted gene identification and characterization" or MAGIC, is a gene-centered approach that utilizes mutant genes or other genetic variants controlling the trait of interest as "reporters" to define novel genes and other versions of that gene to control important traits.

Peter Balint-Kurti, USDA's Agricultural Research Service geneticist, and colleagues are now using MAGIC in studying the hypersensitive response in maize. This response is a defense mechanism exhibited by plants wherein cells surrounding the region attacked by a pathogen kill themselves to prevent further spread of the disease.

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