Plant Science Innovation, Center for



James C. Schnable

Document Type


Date of this Version



Liang Z, Schnable JC (2016) RNA-Seq Based Analysis of Population Structure within the Maize Inbred B73. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0157942. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157942


Copyright: © 2016 Liang, Schnable. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License


Recent reports have shown than many identically named genetic lines used in research around the world actually contain large amounts of uncharacterized genetic variation as a result of cross contamination of stocks, unintentional crossing, residual heterozygosity within original stocks, or de novo mutation. 27 public, large scale, RNA-seq datasets from 20 independent research groups around the world were used to assess variation within the maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) inbred B73, a four decade old variety which served as the reference genotype for the original maize genome sequencing project and is widely used in genetic, genomic, and phenotypic research. Several clearly distinct clades were identified among putatively B73 samples. A number of these clades were defined by the presence of clearly defined genomic blocks containing a haplotype which did not match the published B73 reference genome. The overall proportion of the maize genotype where multiple distinct haplotypes were observed across different research groups was approximately 2.3%. In some cases the relationship among B73 samples generated by different research groups recapitulated mentor/mentee relationships within the maize genetics community.