USDA and DOE Award 11 Grants for Biomass Genomics Research
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, Office
of Biological and Environmental Research, and the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative* have jointly selected 11 projects for awards totaling $8.3
million for biobased-fuel research. These awards continue a commitment begun
in 2006 to conduct fundamental research in biomass genomics that will establish
a scientific foundation to facilitate and accelerate the use of woody plant
bioenergy and biofuel.
June 7, 2007 Press
in 2007, DOE will provide $5.5 million in funding for seven projects, while
USDA will award more than $1.5
million to fund three projects, one of which will receive
$1.3 million in funding from both agencies. Initial
funding is for up to 3
a Map of the Populus Biomass Protein-Protein Interaction Network"
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, $1,200,000 for 36 months
Principal Investigator: Eric Beers
Co-Principal Investigators: Amy Brunner, Allan Dickerman
Project Goal: Map protein-protein interactions relevant
to biomass production by focusing on proteins coexpressed in poplar xylem,
of the majority
of lignocellulose synthesis and hence biomass accumulation in poplar.
"Developing Association Mapping in Polyploid
Perennial Biofuel Grasses"
USDA-Agricultural Research Service (Cornell University), $700,000 for 36 months
Jerry Cherney, Michael Casler (USDA-Agricultural Research Service,
Project Goal: Undertake an association-mapping study of two
important biofuel grasses, switchgrass and reed canarygrass, to identify
tightly linked to biomass-related trait loci. This will enable marker-assisted
selection and greatly accelerate breeding programs for enhanced biomass
of Small RNAs and mRNAs Associated with Abiotic Stress Responses in Brachypodium
University of Delaware,
$600,000 for 36 months
Project Goal: Identify small RNAs related to stresses such as drought,
temperature, and nutrient deprivation and relate them to the emerging genome
sequence of Brachypodium distachyon, thus enhancing its
value as a functional genomic model for energy crops and temperate grasses.
Analysis Appropriate for Comparative Genome Analysis and Trait Selection
USDA - Agricultural Research Service (Western Regional Research
$600,000 for 36 months
Rongling Wu (University of
Florida), Joe Bouton
(Noble Foundation), Malay Saha (Noble Foundation)
Project Goal: Create a comprehensive marker set for switchgrass based principally
on simple sequence repeats, and initiate development of a linkage map.
"Genetic Dissection of Bioenergy Traits in Sorghum"
University of Florida, $750,000 for 36 months
S. Kresovich, S. Murray, J. Pedersen, W. Rooney, Z. Xin, S. Sattler (Cornell University, Texas A&M University, USDA-ARS)
Project Goal: Maximize the amount of fermentable sugar in the whole
sorghum plant by identifying and isolating genes that control
the high stalk juice sugar trait and a decreased stalk lignin trait, with
the aim of eventually combining both traits in a single germplasm.
(Updated December 2008)
Mutagenesis of Brachypodium distachyon"
Agricultural Research Service (Western Regional Research Center),
$600,000 for 36 months
Yong Gu, Gerard Lazo, Olin Anderson
Project Goal: Create a collection of insertional mutants in Brachypodium distachyon.
This resource collection can then be used to identify mutations in genes predicted
to affect biomass quality and agronomic characteristics of other perennial
grass energy crops.
Functional Genomics Approach to Altering Crown Architecture in Populus:
Maximizing Carbon Capture in Trees Grown in Dense Plantings"
Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
$1,040,000 for 36 months
Udaya Kalluri, Stan Wullschleger, Glenn Howe (Oregon State University),
Stephen DiFazio (West Virginia University), Gancho Slavov (West Virginia
Project Goal: Gain a molecular understanding of phytochrome-mediated
responses to competition in Populus and then use that knowledge
to maximize carbon capture per unit of land area for increased biomass production.
of Cell Wall Synthesis Regulatory Genes Controlling Biomass Characteristics
and Yield in Rice (Oryza sativa)"
Mississippi State University,
$1,300,000 for 36 months
Pamela Ronald (University of California, Davis),
Guo-Liang Wang (Ohio State University)
Project Goal: Examine cell-wall synthesis in rice, a model grass bioenergy
species and the source of rice stover residues, using reverse genetic and
functional genomic and proteomic approaches.
of Genomic Tools to Improve Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata),
a Highly Productive Bioenergy Feedstock Crop"
South Dakota State University,
$420,000 for 24 months
Arvid Boe, XingYou Gu, Vance Owens
Project Goal: Develop PCR markers for this species and to construct an
initial linkage map for prairie cordgrass, a native perennial high-biomass–yielding
in Switchgrass, an Important Bioenergy Crop for the U.S.A."
- University of Georgia, $400,000 for 36 months
Jeff Bennetzen, Charles Brummer, Joe Bouton (Noble Foundation),
and Malay Saha (Noble Foundation)
Project Goal: Construct a detailed genetic
map of switchgrass based on simple sequence repeats, and align
it with maps produced in rice, maize, and sorghum. This will allow the exploitation
of resources and
information generated for these well-studied cereals. The genetic maps
also will serve as a framework for locating genes that control bioenergy
for Using Molecular Markers to Simultaneously Improve Corn Grain Yield
and Stover Quality for Ethanol Production"
University of Minnesota,
$715,000 for 36 months
Hans-Joachim Jung (USDA-Agricultural Research Service)
Project Goal: Optimize the use of DNA markers to simultaneously breed
for high corn grain yield (for nonenergy and energy uses) and high stover
quality for ethanol production.
Current and Previous USDA DOE Plant Feedstock Awards
*formerly the Cooperative
State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), National Research