(Posted Thu. Jul 21st, 2011)
July 21: Today, Off the Cob speaks with Carolyn Lawrence, a research geneticist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Coming from the understanding that growers need the results of research such as the Maize Genome Sequencing Project to result in technology that produces real world results, the National Corn Growers Association will fund a functional genomic data base coordinator. This project will incorporate needed software tools into the Maize Genetics and Genomics Database.
“The project itself is aimed at making the data that has gone into sequencing the maize genome more useful for plant biologists to turn it into a product that farmers can use,” said Lawrence. “In order for us to make sense of the data already there, these tools can filter data sets into a manageable unit that allows researchers to see images, manipulate data and distinguish what the genes are doing so more functional products can be made.”
Lawrence also addressed the results expected from this tool and how long it should take to see them.
“While implementing the software will only take about six months, it will take an additional six months to tailor it so that it is accessible and useful to researchers,” said Lawrence. “The more that we know about how genes function, the easier it is to decide what to stack for a trait that, five to ten years from now, will end up in a farmer’s field reducing inputs and increasing yields.”
For the full interview, please play here