Mark A. Mikel

Assistant Professor

Dr. Mikel studies genetic diversity in field and vegetable crops. He was instrumental in the release of the second corn annotated reference genome, which has become a valuable resource for agricultural research.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Master of Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Science, with highest distinction, Purdue University

Academic Positions

  • 2006 - present. Assistant Professor, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • 2003 - present. Associate Director, Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Research Interests

  • Investigating genomic architecture difference between maize inbred lines to characterize genic copy number variation and the influence of these dispensable genes may have on phenotype and agronomic performance.
  • Genealogy, and discovery and characterization of progenitor cultivars of contemporary vegetable and field crop cultivars.
  • Assessment of genetic diversity within crop breeding programs and concomitant impact of pervasive breeding by recycling closely related germplasm.
  • Initiator and active collaborator with research programs from the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, NRGENE, and the University of Illinois that led to the open access release of the second assembled and genotype specific annotated maize genome, that of the Iodent progenitor PH207.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Achard, F., M. Butruille, S. Madjarac, P.T. Nelson, J. Duesing, J-L. Laffont, B. Nelson, J. Xiong, M.A. Mikel, and J.S.C. Smith. 2021. Single nucleotide polymorphisms facilitate distinctness-uniformity-stability testing of soybean cultivars for plant variety protection. Crop Science 60:2280-2303. DOI:10.1002/csc2.20201
  • Mehl, K.M., M.A. Mikel, C.A. Bradley. 2021. Evaluation of corn germplasm accessions for resistance to Clavibacter nebraskensis, causal agent of Goss’s bacterial wilt and leaf bight. Plant Disease 105:156-163. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-11-19-2394-RE.
  • White, M.R., M.A. Mikel, N. de Leon, S.M. Kaeppler. 2020. Diversity and heterotic patterns in North American proprietary dent maize germplasm. Crop Science 60: 100-114. DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20050.
  • Gage, J.L., B. Vaillancourt, J.P. Hamilton, N.C. Manrique-Carpintero, T.J. Gustafson, K. Barry, A. Lipzen, W.F. Tracy, M.A. Mikel, S.M. Kaeppler, C.R. Buell, and N. de Leon. 2019. Multiple maize reference genomes impact the identification of variants by genome-wide association study in a diverse inbred panel. The Plant Genome DOI:10.3835/plantgenome2018.09.0069.
  • Avni, R., M. Nave, O. Barad, S.O. Twardziok, H. Gundlach, I. Hale, M. Mascher, M. Spannagl, K. Wiebe, K.W. Jordan, G. Golan, J. Deek, B. Ben-Zvi, K. Baruch, G. Ben-Zvi, A. Himmelbach, R.P. MacLachlan, A.G. Sharpe, A. Fritz, R. Ben-David, H. Budak, T. Fahima, A. Korol, J.D. Faris, A. Hernandez, M.A. Mikel, A. Levy, B. Steffenson, M. Maccaferri, R. Tuberosa, L. Cattivelli, P. Faccioli, A. Ceriotti, K. Kashkush, M. Pourkheirandish, T. Komatsuda, T. Eilam, H. Sela, A. Sharon, N. Ohad, D.A. Chamovitz, K.F.X. Mayer, N. Stein. G. Ronen, Z. Peleg, C.J. Pozniak, E.D. Akhunov, A. Distelfeld. 2017. Wild emmer genome architecture and diversity elucidate wheat evolution and domestication. Science 357:93-97 DOI:10.1126/science.aan0032
  • Dogramaci, M., J.V. Anderson, W.S. Chao, D.P. Horvath, A.G. Hernandez, M.A. Mikel, M.E. Foley. 2017. Foliar glyphosate treatment alters transcript and hormone profiles in crown buds of leafy spurge and induces dwarfed and bushy phenotypes throughout its perennial life cycle. The Plant Genome DOI:10.3835/plantgenome2016.09.0098.
  • Hirsch, C.N., C.D. Hirsch, A.B. Brohammer, M.J. Bowman, I. Soifer, O. Barad, D. Shem-Tov, K. Baruch, F. Lu, A.G. Hernandez, C.J. Fields, C.L. Wright, K. Koehler, N.M. Springer, E. Buckler, C.R. Buell, N. de Leon, S.M. Kaeppler, K.L. Childs, M.A. Mikel. 2016. Draft assembly of elite inbred line PH207 provides insights into genomic and transcriptome diversity in maize. The Plant Cell 28:2700-2714 DOI:10.1105/tpc.16.00353.
  • Lu, F., M.C. Romay, J.C. Glaubitz, P.J. Bradbury, R.J. Elshire, T. Wang, Y. Li, Y. Li, K. Semagn, X. Zhang, A.G. Hernandez, M.A. Mikel, I. Soifer, O. Barad, E.S. Buckler. 2015. High resolution genetic mapping of maize pan-genome sequence anchors. Nature Communications (on-line open access). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7914
  • Dogramaci, M., M.E. Foley, D.P. Horvath, A.G. Hernandez, R.S. Khetani, C.J. Fields, K.M. Keating, M.A. Mikel, and J.V. Anderson. 2015. Glyphosate’s impact on vegetative growth in leafy spurge identifies molecular processes and hormone cross-talk associated with increased branching. BMC Genomics DOI:10.1186/s12864-015-1627-9.
  • Hauck, A., D. Johnson, M.A. Mikel, G. Mahone, A. Morales, T. Rocheford, and M. Bohn. 2014. Generation means analysis of elite ex-PVP commercial inbreds: A new public maize genetics resource. Crop Science 54:174-189. DOI:10:2135/cropssci2013.03.0172. 
  • Mikel, M.A. 2013. Ancestry and characterization of U.S. contemporary proprietary garden pea (Pisum sativum L. convar. Medullare Alef.) germplasm. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60:2207-2217.
  • Mikel, M.A. 2013. Genetic composition of contemporary U.S. lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) cultivars. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60:89-96.
  • Dong, Y., C.G. Kumar, N. Chia, P. Kim, P.A. Miller, N.D. Price, I.K. Cann, T.M. Flynn, R.A. Sanford, I.G. Krapac, R.A. Locke, P. Hong, H. Tamaki, W. Liu, R.I. Mackie, A.G. Hernandez, C.L. Wright, M.A. Mikel, J.L. Walker, M. Sivaguru, G. Fried, A.C. Yannarell, and B.W. Fouke. 2013. Halomonas sulfidaeris-dominated microbial community inhabits a 1.8km-deep subsurface Cambrian Sandstone reservoir. Environmental Microbiology 16:1695-1708.
  • Anderson, J.V., M. Dogramaci, D.P. Horvath, M.E. Foley, W.S. Chao, J. Thimmapuram, A.G. Hernandez, S. Ali, M.A. Mikel. 2012. Auxin and ABA act as central regulators of developmental networks associated with paradormancy in Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense). Functional and Integrative Genomics 12:515-531. DOI:10.1007/s10142-012-0280-5.
  • Mikel, M.A. 2011. Genetic composition of contemporary U.S. commercial dent corn germplasm. Crop Science 51:592-599.
  • Nelson, B.K., A.L. Kahler, J.L. Kahler, M.A. Mikel, S.A. Thompson, R.S. Ferriss, J.S. Smith, E.S. Jones. 2011. Evaluation of the numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms required to measure genetic distance in maize (Zea mays L.). Crop Science 51:1470-1480.
  • Mikel, M.A., B.W. Diers, R.L. Nelson, and H.H. Smith. 2010. Genetic diversity and agronomic improvement of North American soybean germplasm. Crop Science 50:1219-1229.
  • Troyer, A.F. and M.A. Mikel. 2010. Minnesota Corn Breeding History: Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics Centennial. Crop Science 50:1141-1150.
  • Kahler, A.L., J.L. Kahler, S.A. Thompson, R.S. Ferriss, E.S. Jones, B.K. Nelson, M.A. Mikel, J.S.C. Smith. 2010. North American study on essential derivation of maize: II. Selection and evaluation of a panel of simple sequence repeat loci. Crop Science 50:486-503.
  • Lee, R.M., J.Thimmapuram, K.A. Thinglum, G. Gong, A.G. Hernandez, C.L. Wright, R.W. Kim, M.A. Mikel, P.J. Tranel. 2009. Sampling the waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) genome using pyrosequencing technology. Weed Science 57:463-469.
  • Mikel, M.A. 2008. Genetic diversity and improvement of contemporary proprietary North American dent corn. Crop Science 48:1686-1695.
  • Mikel, M.A. and F.L. Kolb. 2008. Genetic diversity of contemporary North American barley. Crop Science 48:1399-1407.
  • Bushman, B.S., S.R. Larson, I.W. Mott, P.F. Cliften, R. Wang, N.J. Chatterton, A.G. Hernandez, S. Ali, R.W. Kim, J. Thimmapuram, G. Gong, L. Liu, M.A. Mikel. 2008. Development and comparative potential of perennial Triticeae ESTs. Genome 51:779-788.
  • Kaur, P., I.W. Mott, S.R. Larson, B.S. Bushman, A.G. Hernandez, W.R. Kim, L. Liu, and M.A. Mikel. 2008. Gene expression polymorphisms and ESTs associated with gravitropic response of subterranean branch meristems and growth habit in Leymus wildryes. Plant Science 175:330-338.
  • Lokko, Y., J.V. Anderson, S. Rudd, A. Raji, D. Horvath, M.A. Mikel, R. Kim, L. Liu, A. Hernandez, A.G.O. Dixon, and I.L. Ingelbrecht. 2007. Characterization of an 18,166 EST database for cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) enriched for drought-responsive genes. Plant Cell Reports 26:1605-1618.
  • Mikel, M.A. 2007. Genealogy of Contemporary North American Lettuce. HortScience 42:489-493.
  • Anderson, J., Horvath, D., Chao, W., Foley, M., Hernandez, A., Thimmapuram, J., Liu, L, Gong, G., Band, M., Kim, R., Mikel, M.A. 2007. Characterization of an EST database for the perennial weed leafy spurge: an important source for weed biology research. Weed Science 55:193-203.
  • Mikel, M.A. 2006. Availability and analysis of proprietary dent corn inbred lines with expired U.S. plant variety protection. Crop Science 46:2555-2560.
  • Mikel, M.A. and Dudley, J.W. 2006. Evolution of North American dent corn from public to proprietary germplasm. Crop Science 46:1193-1205.