The panicoid clade of grasses form the dominant component of grassland ecosystems around the world. They include some of the most photosynthetically productive crops in the world and five species have been selected by the DOE JGI as “flagship genomes,” primarily based on the potential of the species to serve as biofuels crops: sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), foxtail millet (Setaria italica), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum and Panicum hallii), and Miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus). This project seeks to build resources to expand comparative genomics as a research tool within the panicoid grasses. The creation of additional genome assemblies from species targeted specifically based on their value in comparative genomics will assist in increasing productivity of these species both directly and indirectly. Additional sequenced genomes in this lineage will aid researchers studying the role grasslands play in global carbon cycling. Additionally, from a bioenergy perspective, the datasets could lead to increased yields of plant biomass under less than ideal conditions, which could be useful for biofuels production.
Proposer’s Name: Thomas Brutnell