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USDA Gives Grant to Texas A&M for Corn Genetics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at Texas A&M will use a $500,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture to study how certain groups of genes may be used to improve corn crops, the university said today.

Researchers at Texas AgriLife Research, based at Texas A&M, will study and use the LOX gene family in corn plants. They hope to manipulate mutations in these genes in order to help develop corn plants that are able to avoid specific weather-related problems.

The program is focused on two problems: drought and aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is prevalent during droughts and renders corn inedible for humans and livestock.

Corn crop loss in Texas caused by aflatoxin and other mycotoxins in 2008 was around $13 million, Texas A&M said.

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.