The team identified some 32,000 genes spread across the crop’s 10 chromosomes. They also found that more than 85 percent of the genome is composed of transposable genetic elements and that the crop shares 8,494 gene families with Arabidopsis, sorghum and rice. “Just as cytogenetic and genetic maps revolutionized research and crop improvement over the last century, the B73 maize reference sequence promises to advance basic research and to facilitate efforts to meet the world’s growing needs for food, feed, energy, and industrial feed stocks in an era of global climate change,” the team wrote in the paper.

Maize’s 3.2 billion base pair genome has many things to reveal, as evidenced by numerous companion papers published by Science, PLoS Genetics, PNAS and Plant Physiology analyzing everything from transposable genetic elements, maize centromere evolution, characterization of microRNA genes to hybrid vigor and the crop’s evolutionary history. Crop Biotech