Curating Maize Diversity: Plant Trait Ontology Annotations for GWAS and QTL Data

TitleCurating Maize Diversity: Plant Trait Ontology Annotations for GWAS and QTL Data
Publication TypeConference Presentation
AuthorsCooper LD
Conference Name

PAG 2015 meeting, San Diego, CA

Conference Date2015
Date Presented01/11/2015

Maize (Zea mays L.) is a globally important crop for human food, animal feed, and as an industrial feedstock with wide genetic diversity, and is also model species with a wealth of genetic and genomic tools available. In order to utilize the available diversity for crop improvement, traits of importance must be annotated with a common vocabulary across maize cultivars, landraces and ancestor species such as Teosinte. The Maize Diversity project ( is working to evaluate and link important traits to candidate genes in diverse public germplasm sources, by utilizing QTL analyses, GWAS studies and other next-generation genotyping approaches. In a collaborative effort between MaizeGDB ( and the Plant Trait Ontology (TO;, Maize Diversity Project traits (among others) are being annotated with TO terms, and linked to sub-sets of phenotypic scores, a new data type at MaizeDGB. Through MaizeGDB, experimental data will be accessible for custom queries and computational analyses. The Plant Trait Ontology is a curated, controlled vocabulary which describes plant traits in a standardized format. The use of TO terms standardizes the variation in descriptive text, which is the norm in referring to similar or identical plant features and properties among distinct species. In addition, researchers can benefit by access through the TO to data from multiple plant species, e.g. Arabidopsis, rice and others. Providing database users access to ever more experimental data about the heritability of traits is the new challenge at MaizeGDB and other databases. This work is funded by the USDA-ARS and the NSF.

Type of WorkOral Presentation
Conference Location

San Diego, CA