Title: "Maize Genome Organization and its Implications for Applied Genetics"
Speaker: Dr. Scott V. Tingey, Dupont
Place: Stanley Coulter (SC) 239; Tuesday, 4:30pm


Crop improvement fundamentally affects culture, health and quality of the environment. We are now entering a new century of crop improvement, and sound science is building an unprecedented view of gene content, genome organization, and historical selections contributing to yield. The seed is a superb vehicle for the creation and dissemination of the benefits stemming from research and product development. However, current applications of biotechnology require investments into basic and applied research hitherto not undertaken in agriculture. If biotechnology is to continue to drive improvement, the cost of gene discovery needs to be reduced.

A genetic discovery paradigm will be presented, which has as its primary objective the normalization of a large crop genome. Historical recombination and selection within a maize breeding population have been used to create a genetic framework, which when aligned with a physical representation of gene order and genetic diversity, provide an efficient discovery platform for agricultural traits.

Recent revelations, coming primarily from the application of genome science technologies, have shown that maize gene content is perhaps less diverse than previously anticipated. In contrast, comparative genome studies demonstrate that DNA sequence micro-colinearity between maize varieties can be very different both with respect to gene content and intergenic sequence composition. These observations reveal that the cultivated maize genome has gone through extensive modification with respect to genic positions, and may have also been the product of several independent genome expansions over the last two million years.

Implications for maize crop improvement will be presented, based on a rapidly changing picture of maize evolution and historical improvement.