The Maize-10-Maze Project, 2007 Field Day

Open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Wednesday, 20 June 2007,
FAMU Research Farm, HWY 267, North of Quincy, FL

Indoor displays & shelters available in case of showers

An NSF-funded public outreach project associated with the cytogenetic map of maize project.
  • Photos From Field Day!
  • FSU Press Release
  • List of Mutants (web page)
  • FSU Headlines Radio News Coverage (Crazy Corn)

  • The Maize-10-Maze project is an FSU-FAMU collaborative effort presented by Dr. Hank Bass, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, and by Drs. Kome Onokpise and Dreamal Worthen, College of Engineering Sciences, Technology & Agriculture (CESTA), Florida A&M University.

    This event is open to the public and hosted by the high school student participants in the Forestry and Conservation Education (FACE) Summer Program, 2007, and the FAMU Research Farm in Quincy, FL.

    The FACE program:
    The Forestry and Conservation Education Summer Program is a three-week summer program with the objective of exposing blacks and members of other minorities to the scientific disciplines of forestry and natural-resource conservation, including the genetics of plants and related disciplines. This year, through a special NSF grant, Dr. Bass has worked with Dr. Onokpise and his colleagues to integrate the FSU Maize Genetics project into the FACE Summer Program. This outreach program is intended to expose minority students to aspects of maize (corn) production and management that they would otherwise not be aware of, thereby encouraging high school students in low-income counties to consider plant science as a future career not only in food production but also in forestry and natural-resource management.

    What exactly is the Maize-10-Maze project?

    The maze is a field replicate of the maize genome, a self-guided tour of a large collection of maize mutants that illustrate gene and chromosome maps in corn.


    The Maize-10-Maze project is a type of living map of the maize genome in which 10 individual rows represent the 10 chromosomes of corn. We have selected nearly 100 different naturally-occurring mutants of maize that illustrate genetic control of plant growth and development. Mutants that have been mapped to chromosome 1 are in row 1, those mapped to chromosome 2 in row 2, and so on.

    The maize genome has recently been chosen for sequencing (as the human genome was in the human genome project), a $32 million effort sponsored by the NSF, USDA, and DOE (press release). This field project is one part of a large national effort to characterize the architecture of the maize genome. We will present some famous and classical maize mutants that have been studied and used by genetics researchers and breeders for many decades. Come take a stroll through the mutants of maize. A free cookout lunch and cold drinks will be provided.

    Corn (also called maize; scientific name Zea mays) is among the most genetically variable crop plant species ever domesticated by humans. It has a recent and unstable genome with an extraordinary amount of variation in the population. The field contains families carrying ~100 different genetic mutations, each of which can cause a different, interesting, and sometimes bizarre phenotype (appearance). Many of these naturally-occuring mutants were discovered more than 50 years ago. It's like a botanical carnival freak show ... Step right up! See 6-inch dwarfs, zebra-striped plants, lesion mimics, ghost plants, the famous knotted and gnarley mutants, and a lab favorite, the lazy mutants, that would rather lie on the ground than stand up tall.
    * Note on source of maize mutants:
    The mutants used for this project were selected from a large list of mutants originally isolated by geneticists, breeders, and farmers over the last 80 years. Many of these are considered classical mutants, having been characterized for years in studies of the principles and mechanisms of genetics and heredity. The mutant stocks are distributed to scientists and breeders through the Maize Genetics Cooperation Stock Center Catalog. Most of the maize stocks used for this project were obtained for Maize-10-Maze project from the maize stock center in 2003-04.

    Funded by the NSF Plant Genome Research Program [NSF-PGRP].