Crop Development Progress

Using traditional genetic and biotechnology approaches, and building on existing and newly developed genomic sequences, we work to identify breakthroughs for cost-effective delivery of biofuel crops including switchgrass, pine, poplar, and eucalyptus.

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Significant Crop Development Milestones

  • Genomics-guided transgenic approaches to leverage resources produced via cell wall modified and/or better architecture transgenic plants are being accomplished in this translational project. 
  • Successfully deployed biotechnology and breeding techniques to develop hybrid plants for improved switchgrass varieties
  • Results of two- to three-year field experiments form basis of improved switchgrass feedstocks for Southeastern U.S. biofuels industry

Significant Crop Development Accomplishments

  • Combination of genes with improved characteristics via gene stacking 
  • Identified several varieties with 50% or more tree volume than a common, commercially available cottonwood
  • Proactively identified disease threats potentially impacting  poplar biomass productivity
  • Field-tested 61 cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and hybrid poplar varieties (various hybrids) in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee
  • Conducted clonal trials and created predictive models from resulting data in North Carolina 
  • Supported industry partners with field trials of modified loblolly pine with genetic constructs to modify lignin and cell wall structures 
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