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Genomic Science Program

Systems Biology for Energy and the Environment

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Genomic Science Program

2015 Awardee

Genomics-Assisted Breeding for Leaf Rust (Melampsora) Resistance in Shrub Willow (Salix) Bioenergy Crops

INVESTIGATORS: Larry Smart (PI), Christine Smart

INSTITUTIONS: Cornell University, Ithaca NY

PROJECT SUMMARY:The generation of renewable energy and the manufacture of biobased products can significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and begin to limit the impacts of global climate change. Biomass from sustainably grown dedicated energy crops is a key feedstock for bioenergy and biobased products. Shrub willow (Salix) is emerging as a superior bioenergy crop in many respects, but advanced regional breeding programs to generate improved, new willow cultivars were initiated only in the last two decades. Increasing yield is the main priority for breeding, but a major trait needed to produce consistently high yields is stable disease resistance. The greatest long-term disease threat to shrub willow is leaf rust caused by Melampsora spp. This project will apply cutting edge genetic and genomic approaches to improve our understanding of the genetic diversity of Melampsora rust and to characterize the genetic basis for rust resistance in shrub willow. We will use genotyping-by-sequencing to generate high-density molecular markers for characterization of rust isolated collected from willow plantings across the Northeast and Midwest. We will use this same marker technology for genetic mapping of rust resistance in a segregating F2 family of willow, in diverse F1 hybrid mapping populations of willow, and in a willow association mapping population. Finally, we will map variation in willow leaf gene expression in response to rust infection to identify specific genes involved in resistance. This project will identify genes involved in rust resistance in willow that may be introgressed into new, improved willow cultivars through hybridization. We will also generate molecular markers linked to those rust resistance genes that can be used in the early selection of resistant seedlings in breeding programs. Willow cultivars with improved rust resistance should result in greater yields, wider adoption of willow bioenergy crops, and increased production of renewable energy.

Name: Smart, Larry
Phone: 315-787-2490


Genomics-Enabled Plant Biology for Determination of Gene Function Summaries of Projects Awarded by Year

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy [01/19]

Lignocellulosic Biomass for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts: Workshop Report [2/15]

Sustainable Bioenergy [05/14]

  • New Funding Announcement: DE-FOA-0002214 - Systems Biology Research To Advance Sustainable Bioenergy Crop Development
    Additional Information » [01/20]
  • New Funding Announcement: DE-FOA-0002215 - ESPCoR FOA 2215 Building EPSCOR-State/National Laboratory Partnerships
    Additional Information » [12/19]
  • New Funding Announcement: DE-FOA-0002217 – Computational Tool Development for Integrative Systems Biology Data Analysis Additional Information » [11/19]
  • New Funding Announcement: DE-FOA-0002173 – Early Career Research Program Additional Information » [11/19]
  • Now Available: Breaking the Bottleneck of Genomes: Understanding Gene Function Across Taxa report [9/19]
  • 2019 PI Meeting: Genomic Sciences Program Annual Principal Investigator Meeting February 24 - 27, 2019. Abstracts and More »
  • DOE Announces $64 Million for Plant and Microbe Research: U.S. Department of Energy announced $64 million in funding for 25 university-led genomics research projects on plants and microbes for bioenergy and bioproducts. [8/19]
    Read More »
  • $13.5 Million for New Bioimaging Approaches for Bioenergy: The U.S. Department of Energy announced $13.5 million in funding for six projects to develop new approaches to microscopic imaging of plants and microbes. [8/19]
    Read More »
  • More News and Announcements »

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