AMES, Iowa, Nov. 20 (UPI) — After three years and $30 million, U.S. scientists have finished mapping the complete genome sequence of corn, the most widely eaten cereal after rice.
A strain of corn called B73 may prove to be a textbook of how genes work, said Patrick Schnable, a geneticist at Iowa State University, where the strain was developed in the 1970s.
“Corn is a good model for biology in general,” Schnable said Thursday.
The genome sequencing of corn, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, could play an important role in determining how genes interact, the university said in a release.
Corn’s 32,000 genes and 2.3 billion letters of DNA also could provide clues to how plants have evolved over millions of years.
Researchers sequenced the genome of rice, the world’s most widely eaten plant, several years ago and have begun sequencing the genome of tomato, potato, sorghum, pepper and soybean.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International