Next, they measured the samples' RNA levels, compiled the information into a database and integrated the database into MaizeGBD, the go-to resource for browsing the corn genome online. On MaizeGBD the information contained in the atlas is freely available to all, notes Sekhon, and corn researchers would be wise to consult it.
"Before scientists start spending time and money on a gene that they think is functional in roots or cob or wherever, they should really check out the atlas before they go too far," he says.
The research was supported by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, one of three U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers funded to make transformational breakthroughs in cellulosic biofuels technology. The GLBRC is led by UW-Madison, with Michigan State University as a major partner.
In addition to Kaeppler and Sekhon, co-authors of the study include Natalia de Leon, assistant professor of agronomy at UW-Madison; Robin Buell, associate professor of plant biology at Michigan State University; Haining Lin, visiting research associate in Buell's laboratory and the study's other co-lead author; Candice Hansey, visiting research associate in Buell's laboratory; and Kevin Childs, visiting assistant professor in Buell's lab.