HudsonAlpha researchers contribute to full genome sequence of potential bioenergy crop

An international research team, including researchers from HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Faculty Investigator Kankshita Swaminathan’s lab, has sequenced the full genome of an ornamental variety of miscanthus, a wild perennial grass emerging as a prime candidate for sustainable bioenergy crops. The study was published in Nature Communications and includes an author list of more than 40 individuals, a testament to the truly collaborative nature of the project. 

Miscanthus grasses are a promising source of biomass which is a renewable alternative to petroleum-based fossil fuels. This international project provided not only the full genome sequence of Miscanthus sinensis but also important information on gene expression in the leaves, stems, and rhizome of the grasses. Swaminathan’s lab led the gene expression efforts. 

The knowledge gained in this project will help researchers breed for traits of interest in miscanthus and breed or modify plants to improve certain processes such as nutrient remobilization and the ability to bounce back after winter. The genome sequence will also allow researchers to better understand other grasses that may be useful as biomass crops. 

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