(Posted Wed. Jul 20th, 2011)
July 20: Keeping research at the forefront of our national agenda is always a challenge. However, the research done today has a direct impact on the technologies available for farmers to utilize ten and fifteen years from now. NCGA understands this situation, and will fund a functional genomics data utilization project that will incorporate needed software tools into the Maize Genetics and Genomics Database (MaizeGDB).
“Congress is talking about a day ahead, not years ahead in their approach to budget cuts, and many of the research projects that are important to the long-term viability of our industry are at risk of losing their funding”, said Research and Business Development Action Team Vice Chair Jay Nissen. “Genomics research is important to NCGA. We have devoted time and resources towards its development, and we will continue to push strongly to make sure this work doesn’t get left behind.”
The current challenge for the research community is to make sense of the functional genomic data that has been generated from the corn genome sequencing work. Thanks to NCGA support, functional genomics software tools that reduce the complexity of multimillion point data sets will be added to MaizeGDB. Additionally, a Ph.D. level biologist who understands maize biology will curate the data into the system and work as an intermediary between the corn research community and information technology specialists to ensure data is displayed in a manner relevant to corn researchers and breeders. The work will be supervised by Dr. Carolyn Lawrence, USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Iowa State University.
As the researchers in every state across the Corn Belt gain greater utilization of corn sequencing data, growers will see more efficient traits introduced into corn. Farmers benefit from the development of innovative products because of the potential to increase yield and quality and reduce inputs.