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Genomic Science Program

2010 Awardee

Genomics of Energy Sorghum Biomass Accumulation

INVESTIGATORS: Mullet, J. Rooney, W. Klein, P.

INSTITUTION: Texas A&M University

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The overall goal of the proposed research is to utilize genomics and genetics to increase the yield and improve the composition of high biomass cellulosic energy sorghum and other C4 bioenergy grasses. The proposed research is focused on the need to generate a large and sustainable supply of biomass at a sufficiently low cost to make biofuels generation from lignocellulose sustainable and profitable. The development of high yielding bioenergy crops such as energy sorghum will decrease the acreage required for biomass production, minimize food vs. biofuels land use trade-offs, reduce feedstock transportation costs and the cost of biomass per dry ton, while increasing biofuels carbon balance and sustainability.

OBJECTIVES: 1. Characterize the molecular diversity of 750 photoperiod sensitive (late flowering) energy sorghum germplasm accessions and use this information to select 200 diverse accessions for analysis of variation in stem biomass yield, structure, and composition (NIR). 2. Map QTL for stem biomass yield, structure, and composition in two energy sorghum populations derived from diverse sorghum parental genotypes. 3. Develop information and biological resources that will enable positional cloning of QTL/genes and analysis of gene regulatory networks that modulate energy sorghum stem biomass yield, structure, and composition.

APPROACH: This project will screen a set of promising energy sorghum germplasm accessions for variation in yield and composition traits and to identify the gene regulatory networks that control expression of these traits. As a first step, energy sorghum accessions will be genotyped then based on genetic relationships, geographic origin, and trait information, a subset of accessions will then be selected for in depth energy trait and composition analysis. The diverse set of accessions will be analyzed for variation in stem biomass yield, structure, and composition for use in designing composition optimized energy sorghum. In parallel several diverse sorghum populations will be characterized for energy crop traits, QTL, and to elucidate the corresponding gene regulatory networks that control trait expression.  

Name: Mullet, J.
Phone: 979-845-0722
Fax: 979-862-4718



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Technologies for Characterizing Molecular and Cellular Systems Relevant to Bioenergy and Environment [9/17]



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