Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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J. Antoni Rafalski

Genetic and epigenetic diversity of maize: A plant breeding perspective

Pioneer Hi-Bred Intl., a DuPont Company, Wilmington, DE, USA,

Recent rapid technological developments, such as high density SNP genotyping, reduced genome representation sequencing, comparative genomic hybridization, whole genome sequencing and, more recently,  epigenetic inheritance analysis expanded the scope of tools useful for probing genetic diversity of individuals and populations. Using these tools we and others were able to describe in detail the complex genomic structure and genetic diversity of cultivated maize and compare it to ancestral populations. I will show how we use this information in connection with field-determined phenotypes and statistical tools, such as candidate gene and whole genome association mapping, as well as positional cloning, to develop genetic diagnostic assays for maize breeders and to improve the understanding of hybrid vigor.

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