Large-scale Cloning of Genes Controlling Agronomic Traits and Deciphering of the Molecular Bases Underlying Yield and Quality to Develop a Gene-based Breeding System in Important Crops
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Traditional plant breeding has significantly contributed to plant genetic improvement and increased crop production. However, continued genetic improvement of crops, such as cotton, maize, wheat, soybean and rice, will be largely contingent on the development of new knowledge and new tools enabling comprehensive understanding and effective manipulation of the traits important to agriculture, such as crop yield and quality. Therefore, extensive research has been pursued worldwide in molecular genetics, molecular biology and then genomics in crops in the past 30 years. However, few of the molecular and genomic tools have been widely used in plant genetic improvement and many of those used have been unexpectedly low in effectiveness due to shortage of cloned genes controlling agronomic traits and the molecular mechanisms underlying the trait development. This study will take advantages of the recent development of new disciplines and new technologies, including systems genomics, systems biology, next-generation high-throughput DNA sequencing, high-throughput gene and QTL cloning, advanced computer science, bioinformatics and advanced statistics  to isolate the genes controlling 14 maize grain yield and quality component traits (number of ears per plant, plant height, grain moisture, number of kernel rows, ear length, ear diameter.........