We report an improved draft nucleotide sequence of the 2.3-gigabase genome of maize, an important crop plant and model for biological research. Over 32,000 genes were predicted, of which 99.8% were placed on reference chromosomes. Nearly 85% of the genome is composed of hundreds of families of transposable elements, dispersed nonuniformly across the genome. These were responsible for the capture and amplification of numerous gene fragments and affect the composition, sizes, and positions of centromeres. We also report on the correlation of methylation-poor regions with Mu transposon insertions and recombination, and copy number variants with insertions and/or deletions, as well as how uneven gene losses between duplicated regions were involved in returning an ancient allotetraploid to a genetically diploid state. These analyses inform and set the stage for further investigations to improve our understanding of the domestication and agricultural improvements of maize.
Tina Graves-Lindsay, Robert Fulton, Patrick Minx, Lucinda Fulton, Liz Appelbaum, Laura Courtney, Krishna Kanchi, Chad Tomlinson, Catrina Fronick, Edward Belter, Jason Waligorski, John Higginbotham, Kelsi Rotter, Matthew Cordes, Shawn Leonard, Amy Reily, Scott Kruchowski, Feiyu Du, Andrew Levy, Barbara Gillam, Le Yan, Thynn Thane, Sara Kohlberg, Brandon Delgado, Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D.