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The Switchgrass Genome: Tools and Strategies

Michael D. Casler, Christian M. Tobias, Shawn M. Kaeppler, C. Robin Buell, Zeng-Yu Wang, Peijian Cao, Jeremy Schmutz, Pamela Ronald
The plant genome 2011 v.4 no.3 pp. 273-282
Panicum virgatum, grasses, rice, bacterial artificial chromosomes, energy crops, microarray technology, Oryza sativa, linkage groups, plant breeders, expressed sequence tags, nutritive value, clones, gene expression, chromosome mapping, Brachypodium distachyon, genomics, Sorghum bicolor, pest resistance, single nucleotide polymorphism
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial grass species receiving significant focus as a potential bioenergy crop. In the last 5 yr the switchgrass research community has produced a genetic linkage map, an expressed sequence tag (EST) database, a set of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers that are distributed across the 18 linkage groups, 4x sampling of the P. virgatum AP13 genome in 400-bp reads, and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries containing over 200,000 clones. These studies have revealed close collinearity of the switchgrass genome with those of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], rice (Oryza sativa L.), and Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv. Switchgrass researchers have also developed several microarray technologies for gene expression studies. Switchgrass genomic resources will accelerate the ability of plant breeders to enhance productivity, pest resistance, and nutritional quality. Because switchgrass is a relative newcomer to the genomics world, many secrets of the switchgrass genome have yet to be revealed. To continue to efficiently explore basic and applied topics in switchgrass, it will be critical to capture and exploit the knowledge of plant geneticists and breeders on the next logical steps in the development and utilization of genomic resources for this species. To this end, the community has established a switchgrass genomics executive committee and work group (http://switchgrassgenomics.org/ [verified 28 Oct. 2011]).