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Genomic Science Program

2013 Awardee

Pyramiding genes and alleles for improving energy cane biomass yield

INVESTIGATORS: Ming, R., Nagai, C., Yu, Q. 

INSTITUTIONS: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The long term goal is to establish a new paradigm to accelerate energy cane breeding programs and maximize biomass yield for biofuel production. Sugarcane cultivars are mostly derived from interspecific hybridization between domesticated species and wild species, followed by additional rounds of backcrossing to the domesticated species or hybrids to recover the high biomass yield and high sugar content while retaining stress tolerance from the wild species. Our new paradigm utilizes the extraordinary segregation of true F2 populations to select extreme segregants of high biomass yield, because sugar content is not a limiting factor for energy cane cultivars.

OBJECTIVES: 1. Phenotype extreme segregants of the F2 population for exploring the molecular basis of high biomass yield from transgressive segregation; 2. Map genes affecting biomass yield by transcriptome sequencing of the extreme segregants; 3. Identify differentially expressed genes and alleles through analyses of transcriptomes of extreme segregants from the F2 population; 4. Develop gene- and allele-specific markers for implementation of marker-assisted selection in energy cane breeding programs. 

APPROACH: An F2 population will be screened for biomass yield to select extreme segregants for field trials in Hawaii and Texas. Sequencing transcriptomes of this segregating population provides abundant high quality single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling biomass yield and yield components. Differentially expressed genes/alleles will be analyzed using extreme segregants with contrasting phenotypes.  Those genes will be used as probes to screen two bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries to obtain genomic sequences for haplotype analysis. Haplotype specific markers will be developed for integration into energy cane breeding programs. SNPs identified and validated will be deployed for marker assisted selection.

Name:Ming, R
Fax: 217-244-1336



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