Cultivated grasses are the most abundant sustainable class of biomass that can be produced in the United States, and one of the Department of Energy’s candidate bioenergy feedstock crops is switchgrass. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulatory molecules of vegetative development and stress response, though their specific roles in switchgrass and in bioenergy crop diversity in general have not been thoroughly characterized. The project focuses on sequencing, cataloging, and quantifying the miRNAs and other small RNAs present in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) toward improving-biofuel relevant traits. The project complements an earlier CSP project studying switchgrass RNASeq samples. The miRNA data will be integrated into multiple quantitative analyses being undertaken for the switchgrass RNA Seq samples in order to identify molecular features in switchgrass that determine important biofuels traits.
Proposer’s Name: Baohong Zhang, East Carolina University