With the costs of genome sequencing rapidly decreasing, and with the infrastructure now developed for almost anyone with access to a computer to cheaply store, access, and analyze sequence information, emphasis is increasingly being placed on ways to apply genome data to real world problems, including reducing dependency on fossil fuel.
For the efficient production of bioenergy, this may be accomplished through development of improved feedstocks.
A recently published study examined the impact of very cheap sequence data (approximately 1USD per genome) on improvement of switchgrass, a perennial grass well suited to biomass production. Results were published in the current issue of The Plant Genome.
Acquiring the genetic component of natural variation is or will soon become cheap enough that it will soon be able to be incorporated through marker-assisted selection into almost all breeding programs. With availability of cheap sequencing capacity, neither complete sequence assembly nor gene annotation is required to apply these techniques.
In a species such as switchgrass there exists a great deal of phenotypic variation derived from latitudinal adaptation across its natural range and local adaptation to soil, temperature, and moisture conditions. It is still largely undomesticated and thus large gains might be realized through fixation of beneficial alleles in breeding populations. There are likely to be a few genes with large effects that will dramatically impact yields once incorporated into breeding programs. This has occurred during the domestication of all our grain crops, but it may take just a fraction of the time now.
The development of a dollar genome sequence could provide information highways that would cut across several disciplines and drive the development of next generation biomass feedstocks, bioproducts, and processes for replacing fossil fuels. New feedstocks could produce sustainable high yields with minimal inputs in regions where competition with food is minimized, as well as provide ancillary environmental benefits associated with carbon sequestration and environmental remediation.
Another result of inexpensive sequencing would be an increased use of comparative genomics. A comprehensive survey of genetic diversity would help guide conservation efforts to preserve germplasm diversity and allow reconstruction of past speciation events at a more detailed level.
As a result of access to multiple related genomes, similarities between closely related species would allow inference of missing data. For example, if a draft switchgrass genome assembly does not provide a complete assembly as judged by comparison to an inbred genome or more closely related grass, it will be possible to infer unresolved regions, including retrotransposon family composition and composition of other abundant repetitive elements. Comparative approaches would be applied to better understand the molecular basis for differences between species that result in higher or lower yields in different environments.
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://plantgenome.scijournals.org/content/2/1/5.full.
The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.
CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives.
Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences