Navigation Links
Researcher gets NSF grant to create mutant maize lines

A Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) researcher at Cornell University has received a grant to help assemble a unique database of DNA mutations in maize (corn).

The project not only will allow researchers to study the effects of knocking out the function of single genes, one at a time, but also will create seeds for each mutation, or disrupted gene. The seeds will be made widely available to researchers.

The new maize lines could one day lead to plants with tailor-made properties, such as higher protein or vitamin content or easier-to-digest starch for ethanol production.

Funded by a new five-year, $3.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the project will generate some 10,000 lines in maize, each lacking a single gene and its function, says Thomas Brutnell, the principal investigator, a researcher at BTI and an adjunct assistant professor of plant biology at Cornell. Brutnell shares the award with two Iowa State University researchers and will use $1.9 million in his Cornell lab.

Brutnell and colleagues will develop lines of maize that have a piece of DNA that can be moved from one part of the plant's genetic sequence, or genome, to another. Called transposons, or jumping genes, these mobile pieces of DNA knock out the function of genes they jump into, thereby mutating the genetic makeup. What is unique about this collection is that a single gene will be disrupted in each line while the 50,000 or so other genes are kept exactly the same from seed to seed. A missing gene may alter processes in ways that are easily visible to the naked eye or through biochemical or physiological analysis. Such experimentation will give researchers a better understanding of the relationships between specific genes and complex plant systems.

The database will be invaluable to academic researchers interested in how specific genes are involved in basic developmental or physiological processes, as well as to biotechnology industry scientists s eeking to create maize plants with enhanced properties for agriculture or industry, Brutnell says.

"This is going to be the only resource of its kind, a sequence-indexed library that allows researchers to do a database search for a DNA sequence and identify a single line of maize with a single disruption in the genome," says Brutnell, who notes that the project could expand the understanding of the functions of about 20 percent of the maize plant's entire genome.

Once scientists have identified a maize mutant from the online library, they will be able to order kernels with that specific knockout gene. Researchers can then grow plants to identify the function of the gene they are interested in.

The maize kernels will be donated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Maize Genetics Cooperative Stock Center, a national clearinghouse where scientists will be able to obtain the seeds for their experiments.

"A good chunk of this project is developing a community resource," Brutnell says. By providing these lines to the community, researchers with a wide range of interests and goals will have access to genetically unique seeds. For instance, researchers could use these lines to identify genes that make starch that is easier for enzymes to digest. Since ethanol is produced from maize starch, such a refinement could lead to cheaper ethanol. In terms of nutrition, researchers might target a gene that blocks an enzyme used in the pathway that processes beta carotene, or vitamin A, thereby creating a maize plant rich in the vitamin.

The project is especially important given the breadth of uses for maize, Brutnell adds. "If you walk into a grocery store, 80 percent of the products on the shelves contain maize, in the form of starch, sugar, meal or oil," he says. "It's a $23 billion-a-year industry in the U.S. alone."

Brutnell's colleagues include Erik Vollbrecht and Volker Brendel, both in the Department of Genetics, Development a nd Cell Biology at Iowa State University in Ames; Brendel is also in the Department of Statistics.

The NSF grant, awarded by the Plant Genome Research Program, is designed to promote infrastructure for conducting genomics research in such major crop plants as maize.


'"/>

Source:Cornell University News Service


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and Touchless), ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 billion ... Continue Reading ... ...      (Logo: ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... NEW YORK , March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Customer Marketing Cloud used by retailers such as ... in its platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using ... to give more personalized product and replenishment recommendations ... purchases, but also on predictions of customer intent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... Austin, TX May 24, 2017 (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Require Constant Connectivity , Medical systems are increasingly being developed with Wi-Fi connectivity ... to be easily moved from room to room. In addition, compact mobile devices ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Genedata, a leading provider ... the occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2017 ... an invitation to all attendees to view posters on the entire range ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Kathy Goin is joining myClin ... years of expertise in establishing and leading clinical operations at Sponsors including Trevena, ... therapist, through a variety of leadership roles in Clinical Operations, to her current ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... Baltimore biotech firm, PathSensors, announced that ... in developing and issuing recommendations to grow Maryland's biohealth industry and position the ... , The recommendations are contained in a report from the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: