Ancillary Projects

Ancillary Projects

UAV Study:

24 or 25 hybrids planted in 4-row plots for projects to do aerial imaging and make on-ground measurements to correlate with aerial image data.

Ear Imaging Study:

In 2014 and 2015, the G2F GxE inbred trials were phenotyped for ear, cob, and kernel size, shape, and weight using a high throughput imaging-based method. These trials included 32 inbreds grown in 2 or more replicates at 15 locations in 2014 and 17 locations (some with more than one trial, for 25 total experiments) in 2015. For three ears per plot, many traits were measured including plot weight, ear width and length, cob width and length, cob color, kernel row number, ear and cob width profiles (measured at 1000 points along the ear/cob), kernel major and minor axis, kernel length, kernel area, and kernel weight. Note that these data coordinate with the agronomic trait data from the 2014 and 2015 inbred trials.

RNA Sampling Study:

To supplement current G2F data, we are beginning a study collecting leaf samples for generation of RNAseq data from a diverse subset of GxE hybrids. During summer 2017, a pilot study was conducted across these 6 locations. RNAseq data obtained will be used to examine how GxE interactions influence expression, look for correlations between environmental fluctuations and changes in gene expression, and to identify common patterns between environments. Further studies in 2018 will expand on understanding of how environmental factors influence genome expression in a field setting.

Irrigation Study:

We are seeking to understand root architectural and anatomical phenes that improve soil resource capture.

Crop Growth Imaging:

As part of the University of Nebraska’s G2F efforts in 2016, 140 of the most widely grown* hybrids from G2F sites were also grown at the UNL greenhouse innovation center automated phenotyping greenhouse from early seedling stage to flowering. Plants were imaged on alternating days using conventional RGB cameras from the side and top down, thermal infrared, induced fluorescence, and a hyperspectral camera which captured 242 separate intensity values per pixel from light wavelengths between 546 nm and 1700 nm. In addition, plant water use was estimated and recorded from changes in pot weight on a daily basis. For more details, please see Liang et al. (Preprint) doi: 10.1101/169045 which describes a similar dataset generated for the G2F inbred panel in 2015

Nitrogen Sensor Study:

Dr. Liang Dong’s group at Iowa State is developing low-cost, microscale, field deployable nitrogen sensors for real-time monitoring of plant nitrogen usage and soil nitrogen dynamics at high throughput. The information on nitrogen concentration and fluxes will provide an avenue for connecting nitrogen-related phenotypes to genes. Initial field trials with the developed sensors were conducted in summer 2017.

Disease Trial Study:

For the past four years, the Cornell collaborators have grown G2F nurseries with and without inoculation with the Northern Leaf Blight (NLB) pathogen, Setosphaeria turcica. This has allowed us to assess the range of disease resistance phenotypes in the germplasm. By comparing the yield in the inoculated and non-inoculated trials, we will gain insights on the yield benefits of resistance under disease pressure and assess the possible “cost” of resistance in the absence of disease. We will further ask whether genotypes vary in tolerance (or the yield loss associated with a given level of disease). We are also taking advantage of available phenotypic and genotypic data to characterize molecular diversity known quantitative and qualitative resistance loci and to assess their associations with resistance and other traits.


The Baxter Lab is interested in understanding how plants regulate the mobilization. Uptake, translocation, and storage of elements in different environments.  The focus of the lab’s attempt to study this question is Ionomics.  Thus far, 576 samples, from the 2015 genomes to fields data set, where analyzed and 20 key elements were identified.

Microbiome Study

Indigo Ag is using sophisticated genomic sequencing and computational bioinformatics to predict which microbes are most beneficial to the plant’s health.  Their goal is to test the distribution of specific organisms / genotype x microbiome interactions.

Nitrogen Study

Dr. Moose and the University of Illinois are interested in discovering genes that influence corn and related bioenergy grasses’ response to nitrogen supply.  His collaboration with the genomes to fields initiative aims to understand how genes cooperate to control plant traits important to both productivity and nutritional quality.