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Crop Biotech Update

NCSU Studies Disease Resistance in Corn

January 21, 2011

North Carolina State University (NCSU) and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists are working to identify 51 gene regions associated with resistance to Southern corn leaf blight disease – an important plant pathogen. Dr. Jim Holland and colleagues joined researchers from Cornell University, University of Delaware, and  University of Missouri to examine a set of 5,000 maize varieties called the maize nested association mapping population.

 "Using this nested association mapping population, when we find associations with Southern corn leaf blight disease, we know we're on the right street and maybe have the right house," Holland says. "If we know which genes control disease resistance, we can make better predictions about which maize varieties will be resistant to disease and focus on breeding those lines." Researchers are hoping that the results will enable them to learn more about how genes confer disease resistance to Southern corn leaf blight and to other similar types of diseases in corn and other plant species.

Check out the original NCSU release at