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Checkbiotech: Sorghum to be the second cereal crop sequenced
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: August 27, 2005 03:16PM ;

There was a big announcement at last week's anniversary event that will
strongly impact sorghum's future. NSP recently learned that the Department
of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) has targeted sorghum for sequencing
in 2006. The JGI was instrumental in sequencing the human genome, August

According to NSP Research Director Dr. Jeff Dahlberg, the project will
engage an international consortium led by Dr. Andrew Paterson from the
University of Georgia. Dahlberg said the project is a logical outgrowth of
long-term research efforts that have been supported by NSP to enhance the
knowledge of the hereditary information of the sorghum plant. In the past,
genomics research has been funded by sources including the National Science
Foundation Plant Genome Research Program, the United States Department of
Agriculture National Research Initiative, and the International Consortium
for Sugarcane Biotechnology.

"This is as important as the advent of sorghum hybrids 50 years ago," said
Dahlberg. "Sequencing sorghum is a critical step in building our knowledge
base on how plants function and, like the use of hybrids, will allow us to
make significant advancements in crop improvement for the next 50 years.
This project will be valuable as we move from fundamental studies of genome
organization and gene discovery to applied efforts in sorghum."

Rice was the first cereal grain to be sequenced and Dahlberg said that
sorghum is the most logical choice for the next sequencing project because
the crops are so complementary. "Sorghum is an important bridge to
closely-related large-genome crops in its own tribe such as maize and
sugarcane. Analysis of the levels and patterns of genomic diversity within
and between sorghum, sugarcane, rice, and maize promises to advance our
understanding of the biology and evolution of Poaceae grain and biomass
crops, and create new opportunities for their improvement. Sorghum is one of
the worlds leading grain crops, and is an important model for tropical
grasses worldwide."


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