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Corn Genome Mapping Project Shows Promise

Researchers aim to finish maize genome sequence mapping project in around two years.

After hearing a presentation about the progress of the maize genome sequence mapping program, the National Corn Growers Association expressed excitement about the possibilities the project could provide the corn community.

Sandra Clifton, Assistant Director of the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis, presented the program's progress to NCGA, saying that the project will help advance desirable corn traits quickly.

The program could also help reduce the cost of future sequencing programs, Clifton says.

"It cost $50 million to develop the first human genome," she explained. "Now an individual's genome can be mapped for $100,000, and the goal is to bring the cost down to $1,000 or $2,000. Once the first corn genome is mapped we can expect the same thing to happen."

NCGA wants to make sure the growers have a voice in the project, NCGA chairwoman of the Research and Business Development Action team Pam Johnson says. NCGA would like to see the program benefit commercial traits including environmental impact, drought tolerance, corn use for ethanol and other coproducts, nutrition, and pest tolerance.

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