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Nat Rev Genet. 2008 Mar;9(3):192-203. doi: 10.1038/nrg2291.

The art and design of genetic screens: maize.

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Plant Gene Expression Center, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA.


Maize (Zea mays) is an excellent model for basic research. Genetic screens have informed our understanding of developmental processes, meiosis, epigenetics and biochemical pathways--not only in maize but also in other cereal crops. We discuss the forward and reverse genetic screens that are possible in this organism, and emphasize the available tools. Screens exploit the well-studied behaviour of transposon systems, and the distinctive chromosomes allow an integration of cytogenetics into mutagenesis screens and analyses. The imminent completion of the maize genome sequence provides the essential resource to move seamlessly from gene to phenotype and back.

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