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MAIZTRO Method Automates Maize Phenotyping to Boost Studies on Yield Genetics

In a paper appearing in Genome Biology, a China Agricultural University-led team describes an automated phenotyping platform known as MAIZTRO, designed for doing high-throughput maize ear measurements. The approach allows scientists to phenotype massive numbers of maize plants in field studies, the researchers say, making it possible to dig into maize yield contributors. When they applied the approach to more than 3,800 transgenic maize inbred lines, for example, the authors narrowed in on more than 700 genes linked to 15 maize ear phenotypes, including nearly three dozen potential kernel number-related genes. "Exploring the genetic basis behind the phenotypic plasticity of ear traits in maize is critical to achieve climate-stable yields," the authors explain, suggesting that MAIZTRO "can help to explore new traits that are important for improving and stabilizing the yield."