Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping a Grass’s Genome to Advance Biofuels Research

16.02.2010
Biologist Samuel Hazen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of more than 100 researchers who collaborated to publish this week in Nature, the entire genome of the model grass commonly known as purple false brome. It is the first member of this economically important grass family to have its DNA fully sequenced.

Hazen’s laboratory is one of 10 funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2008 to accelerate the development of cellulosic biofuels such as the grass Brachypodium distachyon, widely regarded as one of the most promising alternatives on the horizon to reduce the country’s reliance on imported oil and to cut greenhouse gas emissions. UMass Amherst received $1.2 million of the total $10 million awarded two years ago.

The biologist says there are now 12 investigators in several laboratories on the UMass Amherst campus who make up the Brachypodium Consortium. They include microbiologists, plant scientists, chemists and molecular biologists who are “thrashing out the problems” and coming up with new ideas for using this previously overlooked non-food energy crop.

In several ways, Hazen points out, this grass is the opposite of what we desire in a crop — that is, a high-yielding plant. Unlike closely related food crops such as wheat, barley and nonfood energy crops such as switchgrass, B. distachyon is very small and has a short life cycle. But it is easily grown in the laboratory, making it an excellent model for genetic and molecular biology research. For example, biologists can grow a new generation of this grass in three months in the laboratory, compared to up to a full year for other grasses.

Specifically, Hazen and colleagues supplied gene transcript information and annotated the genes as part of the multi-center mapping study. The genome can be characterized as “a very large book that’s been printed without any spaces between the words,” he explains. To fix this monumental comprehension problem, he and colleagues pieced together the genetic words and phrases of the genome one at a time into meaningful “sentences.” Without this organizational step, the genome would not be useful to biological researchers.

Samuel Hazen | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.bio.umass.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>