Navigation Links
Technique allows researchers to identify key maize genes for increased yield
Date:1/11/2011

ITHACA, N.Y. Scientists have identified the genes related to leaf angle in corn (maize) a key trait for planting crops closer together, which has led to an eight-fold increase in yield since the early 1900s. (Nature Genetics, Jan. 9, 2011.)

The study, led by researchers from Cornell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) at Cornell and North Carolina State University, is the first to relate genetic variation across the entire maize genome to traits in a genomewide association study. The researchers have so far located 1.6 million sites on the maize genome where one individual may vary from another, and they used those sites to identify the genes related to changes in leaf angle that have allowed greater crop density.

Yield increases have mostly resulted from adaptations made by breeders to maize so crops can be planted closer together. Along with changes in roots and nutrient uptake that also play roles in increased crop densities, the leaves of maize crop plants have become more upright to maintain access to sunlight in crowded plots.

The team of researchers found that natural mutations in genes that affect ligules the first thick part of the leaf where it wraps around the stalk contributed to more upright leaves. Also, the changes in leaf angle result from many small genetic effects added together; while leaf angles may vary from one maize variety to another by up to 80 degrees, the biggest effect from a single gene was only 1.5 degrees.

"Although each gene and variant has a small effect, we can make very accurate predictions," said Ed Buckler, the paper's senior author, a USDA-ARS research geneticist in Cornell's Institute for Genomic Diversity and a Cornell adjunct associate professor of plant breeding and genetics. Lead authors include Feng Tian, a postdoctoral researcher in Buckler's lab, and Peter Bradbury, a computational biologist with the USDA-ARS in Ithaca.

The genomewide association study method allows researchers to examine a corn plant's genome and predict a trait with 80 percent accuracy. This would be analogous to predicting the height of a person by sequencing and analyzing their genes, or genotyping a seed to predict traits of the plant, said Buckler. The methodology may be applied to other traits, crops and species, including animals.

"This method will allow the intelligent design of maize around the world for high-density planting, higher yields and disease resistance," said Buckler.

In this study, the researchers had the advantage of making controlled crosses in maize plants to capture a great deal of genetic variation in the population of maize they studied, something that cannot be done when studying human genetics. The study offers proof that variation in traits is the sum of many small effects in genes, a hypothesis that has also been proposed by some human geneticists.

Also in the Jan. 9 online issue of Nature Genetics, a companion paper by the same research team, but led by those at USDA-ARS and North Carolina State University, used the same technique to identify key genes associated with southern leaf blight in maize. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and USDA-ARS. James Holland, a researcher at USDA-ARS and North Carolina State University, is also a senior co-author of the study.


'/>"/>

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. GEN co-sponsors roundtable discussion on novel bioremediation techniques
2. Quartz crystal microbalances enable new microscale analytic technique
3. New imaging technique accurately finds cancer cells, fast
4. New oyster farming technique increases productivity, offers entrepreneurial opportunities
5. Invention helps students learn surgical techniques before operating on patients
6. Radically simple technique developed to grow conducting polymer thin films
7. Optical technique reveals unnexpected complexity in mammalian olfactory coding
8. Technique to reattach teeth using stem cells developed at UIC
9. New oil detection technique
10. New technique uncovers hidden insecticide resistance
11. Caltech chemists develop simple technique to visualize atomic-scale structures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a ... the overview results from the Q1 wave of its ... wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where they ... a health insurance company. "We were surprised ... says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Cell therapies for a ... accelerated by research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) that yielded a newly patented ... regeneration. , The novel method, developed by WPI faculty members Raymond Page, PhD, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... Last week, ... for corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life Science event ... San Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... ... blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is growing. , But according to ... are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country are at their lowest point ... the last four years alone. , There is no substitute for blood. , “We want ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), ... Board of Directors has approved the payment of a quarterly ... The cash dividend of $0.24 per share ... stockholders of record as of the close of business on ... approval of the Board of Directors and may be adjusted ...
Breaking Biology Technology: