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Map based cloning of agronomically important genes directly from Zea mays.


Map Maize is designed to develop the procedures required to map base clone agronomically important genes in Zea mays. To demonstrate the feasibility of our approach, we have identified four genes which are of considerable interest to both Europem academic laboratories and plant breeding companies. Although quite different, we intend to identify and characterise each of the four genes using near-identical procedures which will be developed jointly by the eight partners and two sub-contractors in a network of open cooperation. If we are successful, we will have both cloned, via a map based approach, four agronomically important genes and developed, technologies which will find immediate application in the cloning of other genes which are currently the focus of both academic researchers and the major plant breeding companies within the EU.
This ambitious programme will be undertaken by a consortium
consisting of some of the very best European maize scientists from both academia and industry. In addition the consortium will, where necessary, liaise with non-European scientists and non-European initiatives (such as the US National Corn Initiative) to increase the resources at its disposal.
It is important to note that this proposal does not duplicate any work currently being undertaken by US based scientists, on the contrary, because of the currently available resources (for instance the maize YAC library), Map Maize will carry out research which could only be undertaken by a European based consortium.
The four target genes are:
1. Silage Quality Genes
2. The Early Maturity Gene: Mfl
3. The Gametophytic Male Fertility Gene: GaMS-I
4. The Fungal Resistance Gene Complex Rp1
Our strategy does not involve chromosome walking, instead we will use the technique of chromosome landing. In this approach large mapping populations are used in combination with a very large number of molecular markers. which map to the region of interest are then used to screen large insert YAC or BAC libraries. Using this approach, individual clones will hybridize to several markers, with the result that a contiguous fragment of the separate clones can be constructed without the need for chromosome walking. To achieve our goals and to keep the programme highly focused, the work will be organized into 9 separate work packages, with each work package being designed to have its own coordinator, objectives and optimal combination of participants.

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Long Ashton Research Station

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