Thomas Peterson

Professor & Pioneer Chair in Maize Molecular Genetics
Thomas Peterson

Dr. Peterson, Professor, received his B.S. (honors) in Zoology from the University of California-Davis, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Iowa State University in 1993 as an Associate Professor, Dr. Peterson was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at CSIRO, Australia, Senior Staff Investigator at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (New York), and worked with the Genetics Program at SUNY-Stonybrook. In collaboration with the Department of Agronomy, Dr. Peterson is the Pioneer Chair in Maize Molecular Genetics.


  • Yu, C., Han, F., Zhang, J., Birchler, J., and T. Peterson.  2012. A transgenic system for generation of transposon Ac/Ds-induced chromosome rearrangements in rice.  Theor Appl Genet. 125: 1449 – 1462.
  • Xuan, Y.H., J. Zhang, T. Peterson, and C.D. Han. 2012. Ac/Ds-induced chromosomal rearrangements in rice genomes, Mobile Genetic Elements, 2:  67 – 71.Yu, C., Zhang, J., Pulletikurti, V., Weber, D.F., and Peterson, T. 2009. Spatial configuration of Ac termini affects their ability to induce chromosomal breakage. Submitted to The Plant Cell.
  • Yu, C., Zhang, J., and Peterson, T.  2011.  Genome Rearrangements in Maize Induced by Alternative Transposition of Reversed Ac/Ds Termini. Genetics 188: 59-67.
  • Vitte, C., Peterson, T., and J. Bennetzen.  2011.  Transposable elements and the evolving structure of the maize genome.  in Advances in Maize, in press (editor: J.-L. Prioul)
  • Xuan, Y.H., H.L. Pioa, B.I. Je, S.J. Park, S.H. Park, J. Huang, J. Zhang, T. Peterson, and C.D. Han, 2011.  Transposon Ac/Ds-induced chromosomal rearrangements at the rice OsRLG5 locus.  Nucleic Acids Research 39: 22 e149 doi:10.1093/nar/gkr718
  • Zhang, J., Yu, C., Krishnaswamy, L., and Peterson, T.  2011.  Transposable elements as catalysts for chromosome rearrangements Methods Mol Biol 701: 315-326.
  • Krishnaswamy, L., Zhang, J., and Peterson, T.  2010.  Fusion of reverse-oriented Ds termini following alternative transposition in Arabidopsis:  Implications for the mechanism of Ac/Ds transposition. Plant Cell Rep DOI 10.1007/s00299-010-0832-x
  • Yu, C., Zhang, J., Pulletikurti, V., Weber, D.F., and T. Peterson.  2010.  Spatial configuration of Ac termini affects their ability to induce chromosomal breakage. The Plant Cell 22:744-754.
  • C. Yu, T. Danilova, J. Zhang, J. Birchler, T. Peterson 2010 Constructing Defined Chromosome Segmental Duplications in Maize. Cytogenet Genome Res 129:72-81
  • Zhang F, Maeder ML, Unger-Wallace E, Hoshaw JP, Reyon D, Christian M, Li X, Pierick CJ, Dobbs D, Peterson T, Joung JK, Voytas DF.  2010.  High frequency targeted mutagenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana using zinc finger nucleases.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107(26):12028-33.
  • Pulletikurti, V., Yu, C., Zhang, J., Peterson, T., and Weber, D.F. 2009. Cytological Evidence that Alternative Transposition by Ac Elements Causes Reciprocal Translocations and Inversions in Zea mays L. Submitted to Maydica.
  • Vitte, C., Peterson, T., and J. Bennetzen. 2009. Transposable elements and the evolving structure of the maize genome. in Advances in Maize, in press (editor: J.-L. Prioul)
  • Gray J, Bevan M, Brutnell T, Buell CR, Cone K, Hake S, Jackson D, Kellogg E, Lawrence C, McCouch S, Mockler T, Moose S, Paterson A, Peterson T, Rokshar D, Souza GM, Springer N, Stein N, Timmermans M, Wang GL, Grotewold E. 2009. A recommendation for naming transcription factor proteins in the grasses. Plant Physiol. 149:4-6.
  • Zhang, J., Peterson, T. and Peterson, P. 2009. Transposons Ac/Ds, En/Spm and their relatives in maize, pp. 251-276 in Maize Handbook, eds. Bennetzen, J. and Hake, S. Springer.
  • Zhang, J., Yu, C., Pulletikurti, V., Lamb, J., Danilova, T., Weber, D., Birchler, J. and Peterson, T. 2009. Alternative Ac/Ds transposition induces major chromosomal rearrangements in maize. Genes & Dev. 2009. 23: 755-765.
  • Krishnaswamy, L., Zhang, J., and T. Peterson. 2008. Reversed end Ds element: A novel tool for chromosome engineering in Arabidopsis. Plant Molecular Biology 68: 399-411.
  • Krishnaswamy, L, and T. Peterson. 2007. An alternate hypothesis to explain the high frequency of revertants in hothead mutants in Arabidopsis. Plant Biology 9: 30-31.
  • Sekhon, R.S., Peterson, T., and S. Chopra. 2007. Epigenetic modifications of distinct sequences of the p1 regulatory gene specify tissue-specific expression patterns in maize. Genetics 175:1059-1070.
  • Boddu, J., Sangar, V., Jiang, C., Olson, T., Peterson, T., and S. Chopra. 2006. Comparative structural and functional characterization of sorghum and maize duplications containing orthologous Myb transcription regulators of 3-deoxyflavonoid biosynthesis. Plant Mol. Biol. 60: 185 – 199.
  • Zhang, F. and T. Peterson. 2006. Gene conversion between direct non-coding repeats promotes genetic and phenotypic diversity at a regulatory locus of Zea mays (L.)
    Genetics 174: 753 – 762.
  • Zhang, J., Zhang, F., and T. Peterson. 2006. Transposition of Reversed Ac Element Ends Generates Novel Chimeric Genes in Maize. PLoS Genet 2(10): e164 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020164.
  • Cocciolone, S.M., Nettleton, D., Snook, M.E., and T. Peterson. 2005. Transformation of maize with the p1 transcription factor directs production of silk maysin, a corn earworm resistance factor, in concordance with a hierarchy of floral organ pigmentation. Plant Biotechnology Journal 3: 225-235.
  • Zhang, F. and T. Peterson. 2005. Comparisons of maize pericarp color 1 alleles reveal paralogous gene recombination and an organ-specific enhancer region. The Plant Cell 17: 903 – 914.
  • Zhang, J. and T. Peterson. 2005. A Segmental Deletion Series Generated by Sister Chromatid Transposition of Ac Transposable Elements in Maize. Genetics 2005: 171: 333-344.
  • Sidorenko, L. V., and T. Peterson. 2001. Transgene-induced silencing identifies sequences involved in the establishment of paramutation of the maize P1-rr gene. Plant Cell 13: 319-335.
  • Cocciolone, S.M., Chopra, S., Flint-Garcia, S.A., McMullen, M.D., and T. Peterson. 2001. Tissue-specific patterns of a maize Myb transcription factor are epigenetically regulated. Plant Journal, provisionally accepted pending revision.
  • Sidorenko, L. V., Li, X., Cocciolone, S. M., Tagliani, L., Chopra, S., Bowen, B., Daniels, M., and T. Peterson. 2000. Complex structure of a maize Myb gene promoter: functional analysis in transgenic plants. The Plant Journal 22: 471-482.
  • Cocciolone, S.M., Sidorenko, L.V., Chopra, S., Dixon, P.M., and T. Peterson. 2000. Hierarchical patterns of transgene expression indicate involvement of developmental mechanisms in the regulation of the maize P1-rr promoter. Genetics 156: 839 – 846.
  • Xiao, Y., Li, X., and T. Peterson. 2000. Ac insertion site affects the frequency of transposon-induced homologous recombination at the maize P locus. Genetics 156: 2007 – 2017.
  • Zhang, P., Chopra, S., T. Peterson. 2000. A segmental duplication generated differentially expressed Myb-homologous genes in maize. The Plant Cell 12: 1 – 12
Area of Expertise: 
Identification of gene structures in maize
B.S., University of California, Davis, 1976
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1984
2208 Molecular Biology