USDA-DOE Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy 2011 Awards
- 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. 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 pro-gram supports fundamental research in biomass genomics to provide the scientific foundation for the use of lignocellulosic materials, either primary material or agricultural resi-dues, 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:
- Elucidation of the regulation of gene networks, proteins, and metabolites to improve plant feedstock productivity and sustainability, and to advance understanding of car-bon partitioning and nutrient cycling.
- Comparative approaches to enhance 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 bio energy traits.
- Development of new cultivars of regionally adapted bio-energy feedstock crops in public breeding programs using innovative approaches to identify desirable traits and accelerate trait integration.
- Fundamental research to enhance translation of genomic information for bioenergy crops into cultivar improvement.
- 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.
Investigators in these projects are characterizing the genes, proteins, and molecular interactions that influence lignocellulosic biomass production, and are using the outcomes to develop novel approaches to improve bioenergy feedstocks.