Genes found in drought-resistant plants could accelerate evolution of water-use efficient crops

HudsonAlpha researchers collaborated on a project led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory identifying a common set of genes that different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions. This discovery could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.

Read the full press release from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

HudsonAlpha researchers lead liverwort analysis

Genome analysis of early plant lineage sheds light on how plants learned to thrive on land.

Though it’s found around the world, it’s easy to overlook the common liverwort – the plant can fit in the palm of one’s hand and appears to be comprised of flat, overlapping leaves. Despite their unprepossessing appearance, these plants without roots or vascular tissues for nutrient transport are living links to the transition from the algae that found its way out of the ocean to the established multitude of land plants.

As reported in the October 5, 2017 issue of Cell, an international team including researchers at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) analyzed the genome sequence of the common liverwort to identify genes and gene families that were deemed crucial to plant evolution and have been conserved over millions of years and across plant lineages. The work was led by researchers at Monash University in Australia and Kyoto University and Kindai University in Japan. Read more at jgi.doe.gov.

HudsonAlpha to host conference on crop improvement June 5-8

Huntsville, Ala. — HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in collaboration with the University of Georgia, will host the second CROPS conference June 5-8, 2017, bringing together leading genomics researchers and plant breeders from around the world.

CROPS will address the intersection of newly emerging genomic technologies and their application to crop improvement.

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Upland cotton sequence now publicly available

A consortium led by Z. Jeffrey Chen of The University of Texas at Austin and Jane Grimwood and Jeremy Schmutz of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has made publicly available a significantly improved high-quality genome sequence of Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). This sequence of the species making up greater than 90% of the world’s spinnable cotton fiber builds upon previous genome sequences published in the past five years.

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Speciation in flowering mustard plant driven by alleles adapted to local conditions

HudsonAlpha faculty investigator part of team that identified chromosomal inversion

On the slopes of the Northern Rocky Mountains, the flowering mustard plant Boechera stricta is undergoing a quiet transformation – that is, evolving into a fitter species better adapted to its local environment. HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Jeremy Schmutz was part of a team led by Thomas Mitchell-Olds of Duke University who analyzed the mechanisms by which Boechera stricta living in a hybrid zone in the Northern Rocky Mountains experienced positive directional selection. Their study was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution in April 2017.

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