Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Next Gen Sequencing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Studies on Domesticated Maize Identify Genes that Evolved from Wild Ancestors

Published: Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Studies identify genes that played a role in corn domestication as well as variations and similarities between domesticated maize and its wild relatives.

Maize was likely domesticated in Mexico around 10,000 years ago, and since then humans have continued to radically alter the plant's genetic makeup.

Two new papers by a consortium of international researchers, including many at Cornell, identify genes that played a role in corn domestication as well as variations and similarities between domesticated maize and its wild relatives.

The results, published June 3 in Nature Genetics, will help breeders and geneticists make further advancements.

Cornell researchers, led by Edward Buckler, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Station (USDA-ARS) geneticist in Cornell's Institute for Genomic Diversity and Cornell adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics, organized the effort. The USDA-ARS and Cornell researchers also led many aspects of the sequencing, statistics and bioinformatics.

In the first paper, a research team led by Doreen Ware, a computational biologist with the USDA-ARS and an adjunct assistant professor at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, used advanced techniques to sequence the entire genomes of domesticated Zea mays corn and a wild maize relative, Tripsacum, a grass from a sister genus that grows and overwinters in the eastern United States.

While Tripsacum has a larger genome, the researchers found tremendous overlap between it and maize, according to the paper. Due to the similarities, "we may be able to combine the natural variation out there for use in breeding and genetics," Buckler said. The findings suggest that such traits as perennialism and frost- and drought-tolerance found in Tripsacum can likely be integrated into maize.

The maize genome -- which is six times larger than the rice genome and almost as large as the human genome -- is mostly composed of repetitious and "junk" DNA. Scientists have debated whether junk regions between genes matter for phenotype and traits. The genetic analysis reported in the paper showed that the junk regions were important for controlling natural variation. "It looks like those repetitive regions of the genome contribute to about 20 to 40 percent of natural variation," said Buckler.

In the second paper, a research team led by Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and the Genome Center at the University of California-Davis, analyzed the DNA sequence of 75 wild maize, landraces (locally adapted maize types with traits selected over centuries by rural farmers) and improved (scientifically altered) maize lines, and identified the genes underlying maize domestication and evolution.

"We went from a bushy plant with small ears to a robust plant with big ears today adapted to agricultural fields," said Buckler. "It took well over 1,000 genes to go from that adaptation to the current one, and this study helps identify those 1,000 genes."

Identifying those key genes in modern corn allows geneticists and breeders to target them when using natural variation or transgenics to create varieties with new, desirable traits.

The researchers also found that environment plays a big role in determining which genes control traits. For example, genes that control high yield in a temperate climate were found to be very different from genes that control productivity in the tropics.

The research team also included scientists from the University of California-Davis, Beijing Genomics Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Arizona State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri.

The studies were funded by the National Science Foundation, USDA, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Shenzhen Municipal Government, and U.S. Department of Energy.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Foodborne Pathogen Detection Speeds Up Dramatically
Next-generation sequencing techniques allow rapidly identification of strains of salmonella, quickening responses to potential outbreaks.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Genome Offers Clues to Amphibian-Killing Fungus
A fungus that has decimated amphibians globally is much older than previously thought.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
New DNA Cattle Test Beefs up Dairy and Meat Quality
A genomics technique developed at Cornell to improve corn can now be used to improve the quality of milk and meat.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Scientific News
DNA Damage Seen in Patients Undergoing CT Scanning
Along with the burgeoning use of advanced medical imaging tests over the past decade have come rising public health concerns about possible links between low-dose radiation and cancer.
Web App Helps Researchers Explore Cancer Genetics
Brown University computer scientists have developed a new interactive tool to help researchers and clinicians explore the genetic underpinnings of cancer.
New Research Advances Genetic Studies in Wildlife Conservation
‘Next-gen’ DNA sequencing of non-invasively collected hair expands field of conservation genetics.
Gene Testing Now Allows Precision Medicine for Thoracic Aneurysms
Researchers at the Aortic Institute at Yale have tested the genomes of more than 100 patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms, a potentially lethal condition, and provided genetically personalized care.
OGT’s Popular ESHG Workshop Free to View Online
Learn about the next generation of microarrays in one of the best attended workshops of the conference.
Discordant NIPT Test Results May Reflect Presence of Maternal Cancer
Results published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
Sperm RNA Test May Improve Evaluation of Male Infertility
To help resolve uncertainty—and guide prospective parents to the right fertility treatments—scientists propose the use of a new kind of fertility test. It involves examining sperm RNA by means of next-generation sequencing.
How the Mammoth Got its Wool
Evolutionary change in a gene reconstructed in the lab from the woolly mammoth was part of a suite of adaptations that allowed the mammoth to survive in harsh arctic environments, according to new research.
NuGEN Scientists Screen 400+ Genes for Fusion Events in Single Assay
Breakthrough proves efficacy of new sample preparation method that could accelerate cancer research and development of treatments and diagnostic tests.
More Accurate and Comprehensive Whole Genome Assembly
Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have developed a new approach to build nearly complete genomes by combining high-throughput DNA sequencing with genome mapping.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!