Maize is an important crop in many countries of the world. It is widely used for human consumption, animal feed, and industrial materials. It also is considered an exemplar plant species for studying domestication, molecular evolution, and genome architecture. The authors of the research presented in this special collection used the first description of the B73 maize genome to probe some of the most intriguing questions in genetics and plant biology. The ten papers consider maize centromeres, new insights into transposon types and distribution, the abundance of very short FLcDNAs encoding predicted peptides, and many other "genetic jewels".
The Physical and Genetic Framework of the Maize B73 Genome
Wei F, Zhang J, Zhou S, He F, Schaeffer M, et al.
Wei et al. present a detailed account of how the maize genome was sequenced and how the maize chromosome-based pseudomolecules were constructed. In an approach that can be adopted in other large-genome species, the researchers use a comprehensive physical and genetic framework map to develop a minimum tiling path of over 16,000 BAC clones across the maize B73 genome.
A Genome-Wide Characterization of MicroRNA Genes in Maize
Zhang L, Chia J-M, Kumari S, Stein JC, Liu Z, et al.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that play essential roles in plant growth, development and stress response. Zhang et al. provide a comprehensive analysis of maize miRNA genes and describe results suggesting that mature miRNA genes were highly conserved during their evolution.
Detailed Analysis of a Contiguous 22-Mb Region of the Maize Genome
Wei F, Stein J, Liang C, Zhang J, Fulton RS, et al.
By extensively analysing ~1% of the maize genome, Wei et al. demonstrate the feasibility of refining the B73 RefGen_v1 genome assembly by incorporating optical map, high-resolution genetic map, and comparative genomic data sets.
A Single Molecule
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Public Library of Science