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Plant Genetics

Plant genetics work is less concerned with designing the useful plant (plant breeding) and more concerned with understanding how we can design the useful plant. Some of these projects directly overlap with breeding project while others do not.

There are two main methods we use:

*Phenotypic genetic methods:

These involve classical breeding approaches such as diallel and testcross analysis or herritability analysis, where no molecular genetic information is needed.

Current traits and projects with a phenotypic genetics component:

Diallel Analysis of Color (Red, Blue, Purple, etc.) in Maize
Resistance to aflatoxin, a mycotoxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, is an extremely complex trait with many correlated factors.

Combining Ability Analysis of Quality Protein Maize (QPM)
Epicuticular wax is produced by the plant leaves and is suspected to be a secondary trait involved in drought tolerance.

Heritability of Epicuticular Wax
Epicuticular wax is produced by the plant leaves and is suspected to be a secondary trait involved in drought tolerance.

Heritability of Seedling Drought Tolerance
Seedling drought tolerance is a high-throughput phenotyping measurement suspected to be predictive of drought tolerance.

 

*Molecular genetic methods:

These involve Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) detection via bi-parental linkage approaches, association mapping (AM) approaches, and selection mapping (SM) approaches.

We partner with other groups to help to collect molecular data for these studies.

For those interested in molecular genetics and genomics at Texas A&M University is the recent TAMU Genomics White Paper initiative.

Current traits and projects with a molecular genetics component:

Aflatoxin Resistance in Maize
Resistance to aflatoxin, a mycotoxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, is an extremely complex trait with many correlated factors.

Drought Tolerance in Maize
Drought resistance is a major limitation to yield in maize

Stem Sugar in Sorghum and Maize
The genetics (both molecular and phenotypic) are still poorly understood.

 

If you have questions on basics of molecular techniques for plant breeding, many demonstrations and helpful answers to your questions can be found at The Interactive Resource Center and Helpdesk

 

 

 

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