6/15/2017 Source: Office of Communication Services, CTAHR
Professor Gernot Presting and two postdoctoral scholars in his lab, Kevin Schneider and Thomas Wolfgruber, are contributors to an historic release of a new, high-quality corn reference genome sequence that shows reasons why corn can be adapted to such a wide variety of growing conditions. Their findings were published in the journal Nature. Genome analysis has become an indispensable tool for plant improvement by breeding. The newly released sequence fills in ~100,000 gaps left in the initial genome sequence released in 2009. This additional information leads to a much fuller understanding of the genetic structure of this culturally and economically important crop. Most significantly, the findings show that the corn genome is very “flexible,” or adaptable. This flexibility will have potential benefits in the advent of climate change. This genome assembly includes high-quality sequence of many corn centromeres, which have been very difficult to sequence because they are composed of highly repetitive DNA.