The Illinois Long-Term Selection Experiment for grain protein and oil concentration in maize is the longest continuous genetics experiment in higher plants. More than 100 cycles of selection have produced nine related populations that exhibit phenotypic extremes for grain composition and a host of correlated traits.
The germplasm and knowledge generated about grain composition has contributed to enhanced nutritional quality in corn varieties used both in the U.S and internationally. The use of functional genomics tools in this unique genetic resource provides exciting opportunities not only to discover the genes that contribute to phenotypic differences but also to investigate issues such as the response of plant genomes to artificial selection, the genetic architecture of quantitative traits, and the source of continued genetic variation within domesticated crop genomes.
Researchers Stephen P. Moose, John W. Dudley, and Torbert R. Rocheford have contributed to this work.