Using a genetic mapping technique developed at Florida State University, FSU and Cornell University researchers have shown that a small percentage of the entire maize genome is responsible for almost half of a plant’s trait diversity.
Hank Bass, associate professor of biological science at FSU, and Daniel Vera, director of the FSU Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine, combined their expertise in maize genome mapping with the statistical genomics expertise of colleagues at Cornell University, Eli Rodgers-Melnick and Ed Buckler. Together they found that a small portion of chromatin — the complex of DNA and its associated proteins — accounts for 40 percent of heritable trait diversity in maize.
That means a small portion of the chromatin holds a vast amount of information that accounts for traits such as plant size, shape, yield and stress response.
“What blew me away about this work is how informative this chromatin profiling technique is at mapping the functionally important part of the maize genome,” Bass said.
The research is published in the May 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Identifying this part of the genome greatly narrows the area that is examined for maize breeding and genomic editing, which may greatly accelerate the pace for crop improvement. This means growers might be able to more quickly target areas of the genome that could help them develop crops that are more drought resistant or durable in adverse environments.
“It allows us to start pinpointing the single base pair changes [small mutations] that are regulating or allowing plants to adapt to their environment,” Buckler said. “It helps us narrow down the hunt dramatically.”
The Florida State University (commonly referred to as Florida State or FSU) is a space-grant and sea-grant public research university located in the state capital city of Tallahassee, Florida, United States.
It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and very high research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation. The university comprises 16 separate colleges and more than 110 centers, facilities, labs and institutes that offer more than 300 programs of study, including professional programs. Florida State is home to Florida’s only National Laboratory – the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and is the birthplace of the commercially viable anti-cancer drug Taxol. Florida State University also operates The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida and one of the largest museum/university complexes in the nation. Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a Level VI public institution.
Florida State was established in 1851 and is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state of Florida. In 1905 Florida State earned Florida’s first Rhodes Scholar. In 1935 Florida State University was awarded the first chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in Florida and is among the ten percent of American universities to have earned a chapter of the national academic honor society. In 1977 Florida State University earned the first female Rhodes Scholar in Florida. In 2010 Florida State University was named a “Budget Ivy” university by the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College. In 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida State the most efficient National University in the United States. Florida State University is one of two Florida public universities to immediately qualify as a “preeminent university” by law under Florida Senate Bill 1076, signed by Governor Rick Scott in 2013.
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Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) (German: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, colloquially Uni Jena), is a public research university located in Jena, Thuringia, Germany.
The university was established in 1558 and is counted among the ten oldest universities in Germany. It is affiliated with 6 Nobel Prize winners, most recently in 2000 when Jena graduate Herbert Kroemer won the Nobel Prize for physics. It was renamed after the writer Friedrich Schiller who was teaching as professor of history when Jena attracted some of the most influential minds at the turn of the 19th century. With Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, G. W. F. Hegel, F. W. J. Schelling and Friedrich von Schlegel on its teaching staff, the university has been at the centre of the emergence of German idealism and early Romanticism.
As of 2009, the university has around 21,000 students enrolled and 340 professors. Its current rector, Klaus Dicke(de), is the 317th rector in the history of the university.
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