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Zhang Zuxin Team Gets Funds from Integration Projects of Major Research Plan of NSFC

Recently, the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) released its approval to the integration project of major research plan applied by Prof. Zhang Zuxin and his team from the College of Plant Science & Technology, namely, “Regulatory Network Analysis of Corn Kernel Number and Kernel Weight”. The project gets direct funds of 6.8 million yuan and will last for two years (January 2017- December 2018).

The project is a crucial part of the major research plan “Genetic Network Analysis of Yield Characters of Major Crops”. The kernel number and kernel weight are components of a single corn yield. By applying GWAS (genome-wide association study), the project analyses the frequency and distribution of genetic locus, allele, genetic effect and beneficial allele controlling corn’s kernel number and kernel weight in natural population to further recognize the genetic constitution of the two intricate characters. To build polygene regulation network of kernel weight, the project identifies genes related to kernel weight through the over-expression progeny population of 500 genes, transcriptomic analysis and protein interaction analysis. By comprehensively utilizing technologies and methods of forward and reverse genetics, genomics and molecular biology, it elucidates the biological function and mechanism of genes with sound research foundation, and builds an expression regulatory network and a genetic regulatory network. The results of this project will provide theoretical basis and genetic resources for the genetic reform of corn’s kernel number and kernel weight.

The integration project of the major research plan bases itself on previous funds for key or cultivation projects, and looks forward to making leapfrog breakthroughs in a certain critical and promising field by deploying all good power onto one specific goal, so as to ensure our leading role in the world. This is the first time that HZAU has ever got funds from integration projects of major research plan of NSFC.

(By Zhu Jingjing)