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Jan 14, 2011

Analysis of Corn Genome Leads to New Understanding of How Corn Yields Have Increased Since 1900s

On 14 January 2011 ScienceDaily reported that a USDA-ARS research team had identified the genes related to leaf angle in corn (maize).  This trait has allowed agronomists to plant crops closer, which has resulted in an eight-fold increase in yield since the early 1900s.  This is the first research project to "relate genetic variation across the entire maize genome to traits in a genome-wide association study."

Researchers at Cornell's Institute for Genomic Diversity and at North Carolina State University collaborated to located 1.6 million sites on the maize genome and then related these to changes in leaf angle.  Today, changes in leaf angle have been the result of traditional corn hybridization.  Now, further gene-modification can be made by relating to this new gene-mapping research.

"The genome-wide 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 geno-typing a seed to predict traits of the plant. ...  The methodology may be applied to other traits, crops and species, including animals."

For more see: "Technique Allows Researchers to Identify Key Maize Genes for Increased Yield," ScienceDaily, 14 January 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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