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The Genomes To Fields (G2F) Initiative:

A publicly initiated and led research initiative to catalyze and coordinate research linking genomics and predictive phenomics to achieve advances that generate societal and environmental benefits.

Background

G2F is an umbrella initiative to support translation of maize genomic information for the benefit of growers, consumers and society. This public-private partnership is building on publicly funded corn genome sequencing projects to develop approaches to understand the functions of corn genes and specific alleles across environments. Ultimately this information will be used to enable to accurate prediction of the phenotypes of corn plants in diverse environments. There are many dimensions to the over-arching goal of understanding genotype-by-environment (GxE) interactions, including which genes impact which traits and trait components, how genes interact among themselves (GxG), the relevance of specific genes under different growing conditions, and how these genes influence plant growth during various stages of development. This Initiative will promote projects that advance integrated research and technologies, combining fields such as genetics, genomics, plant physiology, agronomy, climatology and crop modeling, with computation and informatics, statistics and engineering. Scientists from these non-agricultural fields are being invited to participate in G2F.

The initial concept for Genomes to Fields was developed in 2013. Since then the Iowa Corn Promotion Board has invested resources to jump-start this Initiative. Financial support will be sought from public funding agencies. The seed industry is also being invited to participate in and benefit from the Initiative. In addition, other types of companies that could benefit from this Initiative are being invited to participate.

The initiative is developing a strategy to work closely with Congress and government agencies to obtain research funding.


Several sub-projects are already underway:

G2F Executive Committee

Sub-Project: Genomes by Environment (GxE)

One initial goal of the GxE sub-project is to assess environmental effects. In 2014 31 inbreds and nearly 1,000 hybrids were tested in 22 environments across 14 states and Canada for a total of 12,678 hybrid and 1,798 inbred plots.

GxE_Cooperators

2016 G X E participating states/provinces and cooperators at each location
Core Traits

Plant morphologyEar morphologyAgronomicProductivity
Plant HeightEar widthStand countGrain moisture
Ear HeightEar lengthRoot lodgingTest weight
Cob widthStalk lodgingGrain yield
Kernel row numberDays to silking/anthesis

Collaborators and sponsors: (sorted by last name in ascending order)

Martin Bohn (UIUC)Jim Holland (ARS)Oscar Rodriguez (UNL)
Ed Buckler (ARS)David Hooker (Guelph)Cinta Romay (Cornell)
Darwin Campbell (ISU)
Diego Jarquin (UNL)Pat Schnable (ISU)
Ignacio Ciampitti (KSU)
Shawn Kaeppler (UW)
James Schnable (UNL)
Michael Coen (UW)Joe Knoll (ARS)Brian Scully (ARS)
Natalia de Leon (UW)Greg Kruger (UNL)Margaret Smith (Cornell)
Carolyn Dill (formerly Lawrence) (ISU)Nick Lauter (ARS)Edgar Spalding (UW)
Liang Dong (ISU)Liz Lee (Guelph)Nathan Springer (UMN)
Jode Edwards (ARS)Sanzhen Liu (KSU)Srikant Srinivasan (ISU)
David Ertl (IA Corn)Aaron Lorenz (UMN (formerly UNL))Peter Thomison (OSU)
Sherry Flint-Garcia (ARS)Jonathan Lynch (PSU)Mitch Tuinstra (Purdue)
Jack Gardiner (ISU)Steve Moose (UIUC)Rod Williamson (IA Corn)
Mike Gore (Cornell)Seth Murray (TAMU)Randy Wisser (UDel)
Christopher Graham (SDSU)Rebecca Nelson (Cornell)Wenwei Xu (TAMU)
Candy Hirsch (UMN)Torbert Rocheford (Purdue)Jianming Yu (ISU)

Sub-Project: Information Management Resources

Overview: The Carolyn Lawrence Lab at Iowa State University is planning, coordinating, and implementing data management for the GxE subgroup. We simultaneously are working to support current data management needs while planning for the deployment of an improved platform. For many data types, the development and use of standards is key to enabling documentation and analysis of G2F datasets alongside datasets to be collected by other researchers. Once developed, datasets collected using such standards could be readily analyzed without laborious and time-consuming data transformation.

Development of Core Trait Descriptions: In collaboration with Martin Bohn, a list of 14 Core Traits with the highest priorities for measurement was assembled and distributed to the GxE cooperators. Specific details on the measurement of each trait included trait abbreviations, units of measurement, measurement timing, accuracy requirements, and metadata considerations. Core Trait data were documented using standards that enable complex observations to be calculated. For example, dates of planting as well as dates of silking and anthesis were recorded rather than “Days to silking/anthesis”. This also enables integration with weather and other environmental data.

Two Phenotypic Data Types – Breeding Measurements and High-throughput Images: Methods for breeding measurements have long been described. Standards being deployed for the GxE subgroup are based on expanded the CIMMYT trait descriptors. For emerging data types like high-throughput images, the field is in its infancy and it is anticipated that deploying specific and required standards would impede the development of novel and revolutionary data documentation techniques. For this reason, multiple standards and platforms for high-throughput image data are envisioned, planned, and supported.

Weather Data Collection: Spectrum weather stations are present at all GxE locations. Detailed weather data (10 measurements) was collected every 30 minutes for the entire season through harvest and deposited along with trait data and metadata for each GxE cooperator.