The goal of the project is to identify and characterize the biological pathways and their regulators that enable sucrose accumulation in sweet sorghum, whose genome was sequenced by the DOE JGI. Understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying sugar production and storage in sorghum is of great interest to both biologists and breeders, and the genes in this pathway are targets for improvement of sorghum as a source of sugar and as a bioenergy crop. Researchers plan to perform comparative transcriptomics on both a spatial and temporal scale between an archetypal, juicy-stalked, sweet sorghum, and a non-sweet recombinant inbred line. Unlike its close relative, sugarcane, sweet sorghum stalks start accumulating sugar only after flowering, so researchers expect that changes in gene expression relevant to the sugar accumulation pathway will be evident when comparing transcripts from individuals at different stages of maturity.
Proposer’s Name: Elizabeth Cooper, Clemson University