Plant Sciences Seminar

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 4:00pm
Event Type: 

Seminar Series - Plant Sciences Institute

Michael A. Gore, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
Cornell University

February 3, 2016
4:10 p.m.
1414 Molecular Biology Building

A Brave New World for Nutrition and Food Security: Integrating Genomic and High-Throughput Phenotyping Technologies for Crop Genetic Improvement

Abstract: Global climate change and nutritional deficiencies are major challenges facing a burgeoning human population over the next century. Maize is an important global staple crop, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries where it can account for more than 50% of daily calories. With considerable variation in grain carotenoid (provitamin A) composition, maize could have far-reaching impact in the global South where vitamin A deficiency is prevalent. Through a joint-linkage assisted genome-wide association study of the maize nested association mapping (NAM) panel, associations were detected between several candidate genes relevant to the biosynthesis and retention of carotenoids and quantitative levels of carotenoids in grain. Interestingly, the genetic basis of variation for carotenoid levels was found to be less complex than that of tocochromanols (vitamin E and antioxidants) in maize grain. As a corollary, results from an analysis of RNA-seq data derived from a catalog of six stages of grain development across the NAM founder lines revealed that genetic control of carotenoid composition is partly regulated at the transcriptional level. Taken together, these results have been used to develop a pathway-level breeding approach for orange, provitamin A-biofortified maize grain. Through the leveraging of field-based, high-throughput plant phenotyping approaches initially developed for QTL mapping of developmental and physiological traits on a time axis in cotton, efforts are now underway to further develop and apply these approaches to the repeated monitoring and genetic improvement of maize and other crops important for nutrition and food security.

Refreshments in the MBB Atrium at 3:45 p.m.


About Michael Gore's Lab:

Our lab uses quantitative genetic and genomic approaches in combination with analytical chemistry and remote sensing technologies to elucidate the genetic basis of complex trait variation in maize (dent and sweet corn), cassava, cotton, industrial rapeseed (Brassica napus L.), and guayule. Currently, our research focuses on the biofortification of maize grain for better human nutrition and health, genomic selection for tolerance to post-harvest physiological deterioration in cassava roots, advancement of field-based high-throughput phenotyping tools for more efficient breeding of stress-resilient cotton, identification of genetic markers associated with traits important for the improved production of hydrotreated renewable jet fuel from industrial rapeseed, and the construction of genetic and genomic resources to accelerate the establishment of the desert shrub guayule as a sustainable domestic source of natural rubber.