BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Genomic Selection to Accelerate Switchgrass Breeding
Published: November 12, 2014
Posted: March 12, 2015

The perennial grass switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) shows great promise as a biofuel feedstock due to its ability to produce high biomass yields with relatively few inputs, and on lands not typically used for agricultural crops. The high genetic variability among different switchgrass accessions indicates that varieties with improved biomass quality traits could be developed through traditional breeding programs. However, this potential has been largely unattained due to the lengthy breeding cycle as well as a need for accurate measurement of biomass yield. A new approach known as genomic selection, which uses whole-genome, high-density molecular markers developed with high-throughput genotyping, has been used successfully with livestock and forest trees. Taking advantage of available genomic resources for switchgrass, including a reference genome, researchers have evaluated the accuracy of three genomic selection models in predicting phenotypic values of seven morphological and 13 biomass quality traits in a switchgrass association panel. Most traits were predicted with high accuracy, suggesting that the application of genomic selection to switchgrass breeding would be highly beneficial. Rather than waiting until the plant reaches adulthood, accurate prediction of biomass yield will allow DNA marker-based selection of seedlings, thus greatly accelerating breeding and potentially transforming switchgrass improvement efforts. The research was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Department of Energy Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy program.

Reference: Lipka, A. E., F. Lu, J. H. Cherney, E. S. Buckler, M. D. Casler, and D. E. Costich.  2014. “Accelerating the Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) Breeding Cycle Using Genomic Selection Approaches,” PLoS ONE 9(11), e112227. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112227. (Reference link)

Contact: Cathy Ronning, SC-23.2, (301) 903-9549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)