USDA-DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy 2014 Awards
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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. Since 2006, dozens of projects have been funded by the DOE-USDA 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 and seed oil materials, either primary material or agricultural residues, for bioenergy and biofuels.
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 the biological function of plant genomes for bioenergy resources. Areas of interest include:
Characterizing the genes, proteins, and molecular interactions that influence lignocellulosic biomass production and oil seed characteristics.
Development of new cultivars of regionally adapted bioenergy feedstock crops in public breeding programs using innovative approaches to identify desirable traits and accelerate trait integration.
- Research into the complex interactions between bioenergy feedstock plants and their environment, and how these processes influence plant growth and development, expression of bioenergy-relevant traits, and adaptation to changing environments, particularly on marginal land.
Investigators in these projects are characterizing the genes, proteins, and molecular interactions that influence lignocellulosic biomass production and seed oil characterization, and are using the outcomes to develop novel approaches to improve bioenergy feedstocks.