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Maize cell wall genes identified, giving boost to biofuel research
Date:11/19/2009

uction. Scientists can grow plants that have a gene mutation and compare them to those without the mutation to understand how changes in the gene functions in biomass accumulation or quality in maize.

"Discovering the genome sequence of maize is a huge step forward in getting at the functions of genes that will be useful in developing new bioenergy crops," McCann said. "We will be able to identify mutants in key genes of interest and then assess how mutation changes the plant cell wall and if those changes are useful."

Researchers found that maize's cell wall genes were more similar to those of rice than to Arabidopsis, a plant often used as a model in scientific experiments.

"Now we're starting to see differences in the families of related genes and how those genes are expressed," said Bryan Penning, McCann's lab manager and a co-author on both papers. "Now that we have the sequence, we can start building a reservoir of data on the expression patterns of the cell wall genes."

The next step in using the data collected will include testing the mutant genes and exploring how expression of particular genes can be regulated to produce desired characteristics in a maize plant.


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Contact: Brian Wallheimer
bwallhei@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

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