Switchgrass and prairie cordgrass are candidate bioenergy feedstocks while Brachypodium distachyon is a model grass being used to study related candidate bioenergy feedstocks that was sequenced at the DOE JGI. All three plants have relationships with fungi that lead to benefits such as increased biomass and stress resistance. By studying the transcriptome –the tiny fraction of the genome that is transcribed into RNA molecules – of each of these plants, researchers can learn more about the ongoing plant-fungal interactions and how they affect soil and plant health. The genetic information gained could be used to improve the breeding of bioenergy crops. Additionally, the researchers will gain a better understanding of the role of microbial communities in global carbon cycling and sequestration.
Proposer’s Name: Heike Bücking, Jose Gonzalez, John Vogel, Gautam Sarath, Francis Martin