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Objective

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Purpose

The involvement of Native American students and researchers in plant genome research is minimal. In an effort to increase their representation in the research community, a summer program to mentor Native American/American Indian undergraduates in plant genomics research has been begun on the Iowa State University campus. Participating students study Zea mays, Echinacea species, and other plants of importance to many Native Tribes. Students work with USDA-ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction scientists to carry out field-work (to grow and propagate the plants) and to collect and preserve plant material. They also are using SSRs and/or other suitable molecular markers in the lab to characterize the Southwest maize accessions. Data generated, as well as information describing cultural practices involving those plants, are stored and made accessible here. This interface has been created by Zach Nelson who is working with members of the Maize Genetics and Genomics Database (MaizeGDB) team. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation, and all participating students' travel, health care, room and board, and as well as a stipend were arranged by the Iowa State University George Washington Carver Summer Research Internship program, which runs from June 3 to July 29. An advisory council made up of Tribal Elders has been involved in this process, and each elder traveled to Ames to work with the students. In this manner, the Elders' hopes for the students have been conveyed alongside the outcomes anticipated by the researcher mentors.

Mentors include:

          
Joan Peterson,Sharon McClurg,Maria Erickson,and Lisa A. Burke
(mentors are not in the picture are Carolyn Lawrence and Steve Handlin)


Others who have helped us significantly with the project include:
          Trent Seigfried, Darwin Campbell, David M. Brenner, Samuel N. Flomo, Mark J. Millard, Matt Lively, David Losure, Joe-Ann H. McCoy, Laura Fredrick Marek, Irvin Larsen, Mark P. Widrlechner, Jeffrey D. Carstens, Kathleen R. Reitsma, Lucinda (Cindy) D. Clark, Peter D. Cyr, Lisa A. Burke, Lisa A. Pfiffner, Maria Erickson, Michael H. Blanco, Charles C. Block

We thank Erik Vollbrecht, Basil Nikolau, and Eve Wurtele for taking the time to present research seminars for us, and we thank the staff and curators at the NCRPIS for teaching us about germplasm conservation. Funds that support this work were provided by the NSF to two projects: PlantGDB (Volker Brendel and Carol Lushbough) and A Two Component Ac/Ds Platform for Reverse and Forward Genetic Analysis in Maize (Tom Brutnell, Erik Vollbrecht, and Volker Brendel).

USDA-ARS MaizeGDB Ag 450 Farm