Our lab uses functional genomic approaches to dissect complex traits in maize, biofuel grasses, and grapes. We exploit the natural diversity of these plant genomes to identify the individual nucleotides responsible for complex (quantitative) variation.
Currently, our research focuses on developing germplasm resources for complex trait dissection, using genomics to characterize this diversity, dissect a series of traits (drought tolerance, nitrogen use, basic development, carbon metabolism, vitamin A and E content), and provide software tools for analysis. The tools we are developing may also be used as a template system for other genetics research, including research for other crops, animals, and even human genetics.
Corn is arguably the most significant crop in the world. In 2009, 817 million metric tons of maize was grown worldwide – far more than any other grain (FAO). It is the primary food source for both humans and livestock in many regions around the globe. Moreover, Maize is incredibly genetically diverse. This astounding diversity has enabled corn to be adapted to vastly different growing regions and purposes.