Genomic solutions to sustainable agriculture
The Swaminathan Lab specializes in annual and perennial grasses, phenotyping and applications of genomics for plant customization and modification. In particular, the lab is interested in using genomics and biotechnology to understand nutrient use, carbon partitioning, and the role of the rhizome in resource reallocation and perenniality in plants. Projects include functional genomics research in sorghum, sugarcane and miscanthus.
The lab is part of the feedstock production research group for the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to add value to bioenergy grasses, in which biofuels, bioproducts, high-value molecules, and foundation molecules for conversion are synthesized directly in plant stems.
In collaboration with the University of Illinois and Alabama A&M University, the lab is also working to accelerate miscanthus breeding by developing optimized, validated genomic selection tools to enable highly efficient selection of Miscanthus for yield, winter-hardiness, late flowering, and stem composition (quality).