The Maize Genetics and Genomics Database offers
loads of information on traits, gene sequences and other features of this
diverse and crucial plant species.
Here's One A-MAIZE-ing Website
By Luis Pons
December 15, 2005
Need some detailed data on the genetics and genomics of maize? Then
the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
and Iowa State University (ISU) have just
the website for you.
The Maize Genetics and Genomics
Database, also known as the MaizeGDB, offers loads of information on the
traits, genetic sequences and other related features of maize (Zea mays
L. ssp. mays), including those aspects having to do with breeding and
The site is a portal to cutting-edge research on this staple crop, as
well as to landmark work done decades ago. It also provides contact information
for more than 2,400 cooperative researchers, along with web-based tools for
ordering items such as maize stocks and cloned sequences.
MaizeGDB was developed by geneticist
Lawrence and information technology specialists
Campbell at ARS'
Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Ames, Iowa, in collaboration
with ISU researcher Volker Brendel in Ames and geneticist Mary Schaeffer of
Genetics Research Unit in Columbia, Mo.
According to Lawrence, the site presents maize information in a way
that clearly summarizes biological relationships, and features easy-to-use
computational tools. With it, a researcher can connect how a plant looks to the
genetic sequences responsible for causing its phenotype.
Lawrence explained that maize is much more than a source of food for
both people and livestock worldwide. It's also used in the manufacture of
diverse commodities including glue, paint, insecticides, toothpaste, rubber
tires, rayon and molded plastics. It is also the nation's major source of
MaizeGDB is the successor to, and encapsulates the data from, two
pioneer databases devoted to maize research: the Maize Database (MaizeDB),
started by former ARS geneticist Ed Coe in 1991, and ZmDB, which was launched
by the National Science Foundation-funded
Maize Gene Discovery
The MaizeGDB website can be accessed at
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.