The first high-resolution, comprehensive genetic map of miscanthus has been completed, paving the way for speedier development of seed-propagated varieties for advanced biofuels, bio-products and biopower.
Energy crop company Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University in Wales collaborated on the milestone research.
“By defining the genetic diversity in our germplasm collections with the new DNA markers, we can more rapidly introduce important crop traits into our new, seed-propagated miscanthus products,” said Richard Flavell, chief scientific officer, Ceres.
Most miscanthus is vegetatively propagated. But seeded types are expected to require significantly less time, effort and money to be bred for different environments and to be established by growers. Large-scale commercial production of miscanthus has not been economically viable due to high production costs and few commercially available miscanthus cultivars. However, Ceres is now evaluating improved seeded miscanthus varieties in multiple locations.
Ceres researchers mapped all 19 chromosomes of miscanthus. For more information, visit http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033821.