Maize is highly sensitive to short term flooding and submergence. We aimed to discover genetic variation for submergence tolerance in maize and elucidate the genetic basis of submergence tolerance through transcriptional profiling of contrasting genotypes. A diverse set of maize nested association mapping (NAM) founder lines were screened, and two highly tolerant (Mo18W and M162W) and sensitive (B97 and B73) genotypes were identified. Transcriptome analysis was performed on these inbreds to provide genome level insights into the molecular responses to submergence. Overall design: RNA deep sequencing of shoot tissue from four inbreds (B73, B97, Mo18W and M162W) in three conditions 24h control (non-submerged), 24h submerged and 72h submerged.