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First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
Date:3/19/2012

p. While it has been grown on a small scale across Europe for two decades, primarily for electricity generation, large-scale commercial production is not economically viable at this time due to high production costs and few commercially available miscanthus cultivars.

"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 Flavell. He explained that unlike the most popular current miscanthus that is vegetatively propagated, Ceres' seeded types are expected to require significantly less time, effort and money to be bred for different environments and to be established by growers. Ceres is currently evaluating its improved seeded miscanthus varieties in multiple locations.

Iain Donnison, PhD, head of the bioenergy team at IBERS, notes that, in addition to its use in developing new products, the mapping project has provided greater insight into how the miscanthus genome compares to other well-understood crop plants. Previously, most miscanthus research had been focused on field trials, and little was known about its genetics.

"The joint miscanthus development programme with Ceres has provided new insight into the evolution of the species as well as the similarities and differences in populations across different countries and environments," said Donnison. "This rich library of information took decades to produce in other crops, but with modern biology and genomics technology Ceres and IBERS have put together what I believe is one of the world's most comprehensive marker-based breeding programs in miscanthus."

The collaborative research received funding as part of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC). This innovative academic-industry research partnership underpins development in the important and emerging bioenergy sector. Both C
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Contact: Rob Dawson
rob.dawson@bbsrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-3204
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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