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Nebraska team develops technique to speed up corn gene identification
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 20, 2024 07:06PM

A research team in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's (UNL) Department of
Agronomy and Horticulture led by Vladimir Torres-Rodriguez, a postdoctoral
associate working with professor and corn genetics specialist James Schnable
has taken a major step forward in identifying the function of corn genes.
Torres-Reodriguez developed and tested a technique that uses RNA rather than
DNA, an innovative approach that identified about 10 times as many corn
genes affecting flowering time than widely used DNA-based methods for
identifying genes.

A corn plant's genome contains almost 40,000 genes, thousands more than the
human genome. Fifteen years after the publication of the corn genome's first
draft, the roles 98% of those genes play in making a corn plant or
determining how corn will respond to different growing conditions remain

The research team measured the RNA levels of more than 39,000 corn genes in
each of roughly 700 varieties of corn, using plants grown at the
university's Havelock Farm in Lincoln. They then combined the RNA
measurements with those of the corn plants themselves collected both in
Lincoln and by collaborators at Michigan State University. This resulted in
"UNL producing the largest data set of corn gene expression measurements in
the world," Torres-Rodriguez said.


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