Phone: (607) 255-4520
My research interests utilize functional genomic approaches to dissect complex traits in plants, specifically maize, wheat and Arabidopsis. We exploit the natural diversity of these plant genomes to identify the individual nucleotides responsible for quantitative variation. Through collaborations we apply this research to maize breeding. Currently, our research focuses on three main areas:
1. Maize Diversity-Based Genomics.
We are developing a platform to rapidly dissect complex traits in maize by utilizing both association and linkage based approaches. To conduct these analyses, we have developed linkage and association populations that capture much of the natural variation inherent in the maize genome. Extensive phenotyping and surveys of tens of thousands of candidate gene sequences is now being employed. The development and adaptation of novel statistical genetic approaches is also required to study these diverse mapping populations. This approach is allowing the rapid dissection of complex traits down to the gene level.
2. Trait dissection.
A full range of genomic and field genetic approaches are being used to identify alleles involved in improved nitrogen efficiency, aluminum tolerance, and kernel quality (starch, oil, and nutrients). Targeted alleles are those that can reduce the environmental impact of maize agriculture and provide a more nutritional plant. RNA and metabolite profiling and other genomic approaches are being applied to dissect these traits.
Making the connection between genomics and plant breeding remains a formidable challenge for current bioinformatics tools. We are developing improved bioinformatics tools that integrate public databases with genomic diversity data and agronomic data.
Dr. Buckler’s research has focused on the mechanisms controlling diversity in maize and its wild relatives. More recently, his group has developed methods to use maize diversity to map at very high resolutions (association mapping). Currently, his group is developing large scale mapping populations to dissect numerous traits to the gene level.
Buckler lab website
Cornell Plant Breeding and Genetics