Studying the active role of the maize B chromosome in the modulation of gene expression

University of Missouri,  Phys Org,  2022.

A team of University of Missouri biologists has made a new discovery that provides novel insights into the function and properties of the maize B chromosome. The study was led by Dr. Xiaowen Shi and Dr. Hua Yang, postdoctoral fellows in the Birchler lab, and reported in the January 2022 issue of the Plant Journal. Apart from the 20 normal A chromosomes, maize contains a nonessential B chromosome that can be present or absent from some individuals within a population. This chromosome has properties that drive its transmission in populations despite being nonessential. The maize B chromosome has wide applications in various genetic studies, including experimental mapping, chromosomal dosage studies, chromosomal behavior, and genetic engineering of minichromosomes. Although the maize B chromosome was discovered nearly a century ago, it has been thought to be an essentially inert chromosome. However, little was known about the function and properties of the maize B chromosome.

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