Navigation Links
Maps of Miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Miscanthus grasses are used in gardens, burned for heat and energy, and converted into liquid fuels. They also belong to a prominent grass family that includes corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Two new, independently produced chromosome maps of Miscanthus sinensis (an ornamental that likely is a parent of Miscanthus giganteus, a biofuels crop) are a first step toward sequencing the M. sinensis genome. The studies reveal how a new plant species with distinctive traits can arise as a result of chromosome duplications and fusions.

The two studies were published this year: The first, led by the energy crop company Ceres, appeared in the journal PLoS ONE; the second, from a team led by researchers at the University of Illinois, is in the journal BMC Genomics. The data, materials, methods and genetic markers used in the latter study are available to the public for further research.

Before this work, scientists knew that M. sinensis had a base set of 19 chromosomes and was closely related to sorghum, which has a base set of 10. (Humans have a base set of 23). But without a map and sequence of the Miscanthus genome, researchers who hope to maximize yields or discover which genes give Miscanthus its desirable traits are working in the dark, said Stephen Moose, a University of Illinois crop sciences professor and Energy Biosciences Institute program leader who led the BMC Genomics study.

Moose and his colleagues used information gleaned from the sugarcane genome to develop hundreds of genetic markers to target specific regions of the M. sinensis genome. Then they crossed two M. sinensis plants and grew 221 offspring in the lab. By comparing how the genetic markers from each parent were sorted in the offspring, the team reconstructed 19 "linkage groups" corresponding to the 19 chromosomes of Miscanthus. This rough map of the chromosomes is a first step toward a Miscanthus genome, Moose said.

The researchers also used the sorghum genome as a comparative reference. Their analysis indicated thatM. sinensis arose as a result of a duplication of the sorghum genome, with a later fusion of some chromosome parts.

"Some plants will duplicate their genomes and then there's some sorting that goes on," Moose said. "Sometimes whole chromosomes are lost and sometimes there are fusions." Once there are two copies of each chromosome in a base set, each will proceed along its own evolutionary trajectory. "Often what will happen is even though there are two (versions of the same chromosome), one of them will start to deteriorate over time," Moose said. "Some positions and some genes will win out over the others."

Genome duplications may undermine the viability of a plant or give it an advantage. One immediate advantage of doubling, tripling or otherwise duplicating the genome is that it increases the size of the plant, or of certain plant parts, Moose said.

"Humans have selected for these traits," he said. "Strawberries, for example, are octoploids; they have eight chromosome sets. Sugarcane has eight sets, and it's bigger (than its wild cousins)."

Moose and his colleagues were surprised to find a high degree of similarity between the Miscanthus and sorghum genomes.

"I would say that for about 90 percent of the Miscanthus markers, their chromosomal order corresponds to what is known for sorghum," he said.

The new findings and the eventual publication of the Miscanthus genome will help scientists understand the evolution of grasses and the genetic mechanisms that give them some of their useful traits, such as cold tolerance, Moose said.

The BMC Genomics team also included researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; the Polish Academy of Sciences; the department of plant biology at the University of Illinois; the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute; and the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, in South Korea. Moose is an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.


Contact: Diana Yates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related biology news :

1. Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm
2. New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry
3. Miscanthus has a fighting chance against weeds
4. Miscanthus adapts
5. Findings prove Miscanthus x giganteus has great potential as an alternative energy source
6. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
7. Worm genome offers clues to evolution of parasitism
8. Complete Genomics launches, becomes worlds first large-scale human genome sequencing company
9. Diatom genome helps explain success in trapping excess carbon in oceans
10. Washington University scientists first to sequence genome of cancer patient
11. Research consortium to sequence turkey genome
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Maps of Miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution
(Date:11/16/2015)... Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI product ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) solutions ... These new TDDI products add to the previously-announced ... TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) solutions. ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015  In ... on the basis of product, type, application, ... included in this report are consumables, services, ... report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and ... this report are diagnostics development, drug discovery ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has been ... provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer Institute ... will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, ... preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer ... The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ) today ... discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual Healthcare Conference ... is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at 8:00 a.m. ... will be available for 14 days after the event.  ... Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) 875-8629 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... speaking at the following conference, and invited investors to ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ... Conference, New York, NY      Tuesday, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, ... release there are no corporate developments that would cause ... --> --> About Aeterna ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton , ... Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City ... (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> Shire ...
Breaking Biology Technology: