, Farm Journal Crops & Issues Editor
When Monsanto announced a commitment to double yields in corn, soybeans and cotton by the year 2030, inquiring minds wanted to know how. Now, details are emerging as the company steps closer to the goal.
Monsanto scientists have produced a genetic blueprint of one of its top-performing elite female corn lines. The scientific achievement was made through the use of high throughput DNA sequencing methods, as well as data generated by the recently completed maize genome project.
High throughput sequencing methods enable scientists to rapidly identify variations in the genomes of complex organisms. In health care, for example, high throughput sequencing aids in the discovery of gene variants that can lead to development of new medicines.
"These sequencing efforts will not only identify preferred genes for our research and development pipelines, but move us into a high-definition molecular breeding era that uses a combination of sequence and markers to derive future higher-yielding hybrids globally,” says Robert Fraley, Monsanto Chief Technology Officer.
In February, scientists led by a team of researchers at Washington University completed a draft sequence of the corn genome. Monsanto contributed valuable data that led to the success of the project. Fraley says the company is analyzing the blueprint of its own elite line in comparison to the public maize genome sequence to identify genes Monsanto will use in its breeding and biotechnology pipelines to develop future hybrids.
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