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Genome-scale network of rice genes to speed the development of biofuel crops
Date:11/2/2011

has proven to be too great a challenge.

Ronald is the corresponding author of a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that describes how JBEI researchers, working with researchers at the University of Texas in Austin, and Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, overcame the challenge and developed a network that encompasses nearly half of all rice genes. The paper is titled "Genetic dissection of the biotic stress response using a genome-scale gene network for rice."

"RiceNet builds upon 24 publicly available data sets from five species as well as an earlier mid-sized network of 100 rice stress response proteins that my group constructed through protein interaction mapping," Ronald says. "We have conducted experiments that validated RiceNet's predictive power for genes involved in the rice innate immune response."

Ronald and her team also showed that RiceNet can accurately predict gene functions in another important monocotyledonous crop species, maize.

A RiceNet Website is now available that allows researchers from all over the world to use it. At JBEI, RiceNet will be used to identify genes that have not previously been known to be involved in cell wall synthesis and modification. JBEI researchers are looking for ways to increase the accessibility of fermentable sugars in the cell walls of feedstock plants.

"The ability to identify key genes that control simple or complex traits in rice has important biological, agricultural, and economic consequences," Ronald says. "RiceNet offers an attractive and potentially rapid route for focusing crop engineering efforts on the small sets of genes that are deemed most likely to affect the traits of interest."


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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