J. Schnable: Prioritizing of Genes with Phenotypic Impact

Bio Information

James Schnable is an Associate Professor and the Gardner Professor of Maize Quantitative Genetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research group focuses on integrating and applying new technologies and capabilities from engineering, computer science, and statistics to quantitative genetic and genomic research in maize and sorghum. Prof. Schnable received the Marcus Rhoades Early Career Award for Maize Genetics in 2018, the North American Plant Phenotyping Network Early Career Award in 2019, and the American Society of Plant Biologists Early Career Award in 2019.

He has founded three companies that commercialize bioinformatics software, new breeding methodologies, or new phenotyping technologies. Prof. Schnable holds a BA in Biology from Cornell University (2008) and a PhD in Plant Biology from UC-Berkeley (2012). From 2013 to 2014 he was NSF Plant Genome Fellowship supported postdoctoral scholar at the Danforth Center in St. Louis and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing China.

Presentation Abstract

Maize Zea mays ssp. mays is one of three crops, along with rice and wheat, responsible for more than 1/2 of all calories consumed around the world. Increasing the yield and stress tolerance of these crops is essential to meet the growing need for food. The cost and speed of plant phenotyping is currently the largest constraint on plant breeding efforts. Datasets linking new types of high throughput phenotyping data collected from plants to the performance of the same genotypes under agronomic conditions across a wide range of environments are essential for developing new statistical approaches and computer vision-based tools.

Integrating heritable phenotypes collected across multiple environments with different technologies can improve the detection of genes responsible for phenotypic variation. Genes associated with both quantitative and qualitative phenotypic variation exhibit distinct signatures which distinguish them from many gene models with no current evidence of roles in specifying plant phenotype.


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