Seed World

Researchers Further Gene Exploration of Maize

A team led by Florida State University researchers has identified DNA elements in maize that could affect the expression of hundreds or thousands of genes.
“Maybe they are part of the machinery that allows an organism to turn hundreds of genes off or on,” says Hank Bass, associate professor of biological science.
Bass and Carson Andorf, a doctoral student in computer science at Iowa State University, began this exploration of the maize genome sequence along with colleagues from Florida State University, Iowa State and the University of Florida.
They wanted to know if certain DNA structures such as the four-strand G-quadruplex (G4) DNA might exist throughout the genetic material of maize. These G4 structures are present in genes that regulate cancer and cell division in humans, making it an important focus in scientific research; however, not much is known about them.
Preliminary work showed that many of the genes identified were implicated in responses to energy crises within plant cells. The article is featured on the cover of the December 2014 issue of the journal of Genetics and Genomics.