The Buckler Lab uses functional genomic approaches to dissect complex traits in grasses, cassava, and a wide range of other crops science.
Plant genetics and breeding has already come a long way using molecular tools to identify genomic regions and genes associated with crop traits. However, breeding can be accelerated even further by refining our understanding of each functional site in a genome. Genome editing can be applied, and, most importantly, knowledge discovered in one breeding program can be transferred effectively to breeding in other environments.
Scientists at the Buckler lab use the natural diversity of plant genomes to identify the individual DNA changes responsible for complex (quantitative) variation. They are conducting research on comparative genomics, chromatin structure, gene expression, protein levels, metabolites, and robotically collected field-based phenotypes. The Buckler Lab integrates these data with a combination of computational biology, machine learning, and statistical approaches.
These approaches were initially developed in maize, sorghum, and related grasses. Since then, some of these approaches have been applied to over 2,000 species. The tools developed at the Buckler Lab can also be used as a template system for other genetics research, including research for other crops, animals, and even human genetics.