Source: Agricultural Research Service

A new method for testing gene function in maize plants has been created by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and university cooperators.

Peter Balint-Kurti, a geneticist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the agency's Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, N.C., teamed up with colleagues Guri Johal and Cliff Weil at Purdue University to create MAGIC, an acronym that stands for "mutant-assisted gene identification and characterization." ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

MAGIC is a gene-centered approach that uses mutant genes or other genetic variants controlling a trait of interest as "reporters" to identify novel genes and variants for that trait. This method offers researchers a new way of sifting through the large amount of natural genetic variation to identify and map versions of genes important for the control of specific, agriculturally useful traits. 

Original news release