Year: 2003-04

Company: Pioneer Hi-Bred

Liaison(s): Wen-Chy Chu

Hand-held devices that analyze the genomic composition of plant samples hold enormous potential for pest management and increasing crop yields. Researchers at Keck Graduate Institute have developed an oligonucleotide amplification system, known as EXPAR, that may potentially be applied to Pioneer Hi-Bred’s efforts to characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in corn. (Pioneer Hi-Bred is the world’s leading supplier of hybrid seed corn.) A KGI student team is optimizing the EXPAR system for plant extracts and comparing the system’s ability to detect SNPs with that of conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems. The team is also assessing market opportunities, economic impacts of this system and potential future applications, including field-based diagnostics.