Later this week, we will announce the completion of the maize genome draft sequence (for the more aural-oriented crowd, an radio story featuring Rick Wilson should be posted here soon). Maize has a large genome (slightly smaller than human) that is highly repetitive (about 80%). These facts made a whole-genome shotgun approach to sequencing infeasible. Therefore, we took a BAC-by-BAC approach, similar to what was done for the Human Genome Project. Further work on the maize genome will focus on the parts of the genome that have genes, or genic regions, thereby avoiding the highly-repetitive regions of the genome. We will work on improving these genic regions, filling in gaps and resolving discrepancies, resulting in a more complete and accurate sequence. The Genome Center was the lead center in this sequencing effort and we will continue to lead the effort to further improve the genic regions of the genome (even though the maize genome is slightly smaller than human, it is thought to have about twice as many genes).
[Monstanto CTO Robert] Fraley said Monsanto contributed gene-mapping technology and some of its own gene maps to the effort.
While they may have influenced the decision by NSF, USDA, and DOE to fund the project, they did not contribute any sequencing or analysis to the project. I am not sure what Mr. Fraley means by "gene-mapping technology", but we did not use their gene maps. Although they have undoubtedly downloaded all the sequence the project has generated, they will only release the genomic information they possess if you sign a licensing agreement with them.