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Of Maize and Mutants

A visit with Karen Cone, Professor of Biological Sciences

By LuAnne Roth
Published: - Topics: genetics plant genetics maize epigenetics tassel

Why do Maize Genetics?

Topics: genetics plant genetics


According to Karen Cone, Professor of Biological Sciences, one can learn a lot about any kind of genetic organism by doing genetics in a model: “Maize is considered to be a model genetic organism because what we learn in this organism is translatable to others.” Because it is a plant, she explains, there is the added advantage of seeds that can go dormant, stored for years until one wants to run additional crosses with them. Maize has other positive attributes as well; for example, it has separate male and female parts, and every kernel is a baby. With just one cross producing 300 to 800 progeny on each ear, Cone finds maize to be an ideal organism for genetic research.