Navigation Links
Scientists devise efficient way of learning about complex corn traits
Date:8/8/2009

There's no "silver bullet" gene or gene region that controls so-called complex traits in maize, commonly known as corn.

Instead, in two research papers published this week in the journal Science, North Carolina State University crop scientists and colleagues show that lots of small changes in a number of gene regions affect complex traits like flowering time or reproductive ability in corn.

Finding out more about the mechanisms behind complex traits like flowering time as well as even more difficult-to-map traits like yield or drought tolerance, for example has the potential to help plant breeders build the best traits into tomorrow's corn plants, says Dr. Jim Holland, NC State professor of crop science, research geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) and one of the lead authors of the Science papers.

Holland and Dr. Major Goodman, NC State professor of crop science, joined with researchers from Cornell University, the University of Missouri and other institutions to assemble a set of genetic maize varieties called the maize nested association mapping population. They found a number of chromosomal regions called quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting flowering time in corn.

Identifying QTLs can help scientists get closer to figuring out the actual genes involved in certain traits. Holland likened it to looking for a specific house in a large city, with the QTL providing the correct street, but not necessarily the right house.

The scientists found that an average of 29 to 56 QTLs affected flowering time; the effects of these QTLs were small.

That finding contrasts with studies of Arabidopsis, or mustard weed, the ubiquitous lab rat of the plant world. In that plant, small numbers of QTLs have large effects on genetic variance.

The scientists also studied more than 1,100 marker genes that characterize genetic inheritance. In other words, the researchers wanted to know if genes from one parent are inherited more frequently than genes from another parent.

While they predicted that more genes from one parent would be inherited, the study showed that, for the vast majority of the genome, each parent contributed about half. But subtle deviations from this were often observed, indicating that many genes had small effects on reproductive success.

Holland says that the nested association mapping population will be a resource for scientists to both build a better corn plant and to show how changes in the genome produce differences in individual plant families. That, in turn, will help scientists make more accurate predictions about complex traits.

"These findings will be a big help in the future," Holland says. "We can now take a complicated trait, identify gene regions involved in the trait, and then use that information in breeding to ensure the best combinations of genes from different sources or varieties."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Jim Holland
james_holland@ncsu.edu
919-513-4198
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... April 19, 2017 The global ... landscape is marked by the presence of several large ... held by five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC ... accounted for nearly 61% of the global military biometric ... in the global military biometrics market boast global presence, ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and ... 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving ... marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into ... in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 6, 2017  The ... work of three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim ... breakthrough developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) ... technology within the structural biology community. The winners ... Scientists can now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional ...
Breaking Biology Technology: