Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Joint Awards 2012
Report download: PDF
Integrating the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) capabilities in genomic sequencing and analysis for production of biofuels with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) long experience in crop improvement, DOE and USDA are working together to fund projects that accelerate plant breeding programs and improve bioenergy feedstocks. Investigators in these projects are characterizing the genes, proteins, and molecular interactions that influence lignocellulosic biomass production. Significant advances in breeding, molecular genetics, and genomic technologies provide an opportunity to build upon the existing knowledgebase of plant biology to be able to confidently predict and manipulate their biological function for bioenergy resources. Some areas of interest are:
- Elucidation of the regulation of gene networks, proteins, and metabolites to improve plant feedstock productivity and sustainability, and to advance understanding of carbon partitioning and nutrient cycling.
- Comparative approaches to enhance fundamental knowledge of the structure, function, and organization of plant genomes, leading to innovative strategies for feedstock characterization, breeding, or manipulation.
- Characterization of plant germplasm collections and advanced breeding lines of bioenergy crops to discover and deploy valuable alleles for key bioenergy traits.
- Fundamental research to enhance translation of genomic information for bioenergy crops into cultivar improvement (“phenomics”).
Since 2006, dozens of projects have been funded by the DOEUSDA Plant Feedstock Genomics program, which is jointly supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE’s Office of Science and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This program supports fundamental research in biomass genomics to provide the scientific foundation for the use of lignocellulosic materials, either primary material or agricultural residues, for bioenergy and biofuels.