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Welcome to the MAIZE Project


Maize, the crop you probably know as corn, is one of the most ancient species cultivated in the world. Native Americans grew it as a staple crop, but over time people have learned to use it for fuel and other industrial uses. In the last 50 years, maize has assumed a central role in genetic studies and scientists now know the entire DNA sequence for this species.

Maize is a model organism for cutting edge genetic studies, helping us understand the dynamic nature of the genome. Maize has many transposable elements (a.k.a. jumping genes) and by studying these elements, we will learn not only how they work but also how they contribute to gene and genome evolution. In the "Big Picture", we could learn much more about the dynamic nature of genes in all organisms, perhaps even humans.

This website was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation: GEPR: Maize Transposable Elements: Discovery, Description, and Functional Characterization. We encourage users to examine maize in a historical, ecological, genetic (scientific) and cultural context, and broaden their understanding of this important species.

News ReleaseTransposable elements, popularly called “jumping genes” when they were discovered more than half a century ago, are sequences of DNA that can move around chromosomes in a cell. At first thought to be molecular “junk,” they are now recognized as important, even crucial parts of the blueprints of plants and animals. Read more...

PeopleMeet some of the people involved in the MAIZE Research Project at the University of Georgia.