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Abstract Detail

Bio-Energy Crops

Penning, Bryan [1], Tewari, Jagdish [2], Hunter III, Charles [3], Olek, Anna [4], Vermerris, Wilfred [5], Davis, Mark [6], Thomas, Steven [7], Koch, Karen [3], McCarty, Donald [3], McCann, Maureen [2], Carpita, Nicholas C [4].

Maize cell wall gene network: A plant systems approach towards enhancing biomass for biofuels.

The C4 grasses, such as maize, switchgrass, and miscanthus, are expected to be the major dedicated cellulosic bioenergy crops, and maize can serve as an optimal model for the improvement of these types of feedstocks through existing and developing genetic tools. The cell walls of grasses are distinct from those of all dicots and most other monocots. We are using a bioinformatics approach to build gene phylogenies of Arabidopsis, rice, and maize into a functionally classified system of cell wall biogenesis (http://cellwall.genomics.purdue.edu) to better understand and use these differences in crop improvement. Consistent with the uniqueness of cell wall composition in grasses, comparative genomics reveal that maize and rice exhibit distinct enhancement of genes involved in phenylpropanoid synthesis and certain polysaccharide and glycosyl transferases but have a relative paucity of pectin-modifying enzymes and structural proteins. Many cell wall-related genes are of unknown function, and a powerful way to characterize their function is to identify mutants with altered composition and architecture. We have developed artificial neural network analysis of Fourier transform infrared and near-infrared spectra as a means to classify a broad range of cell wall phenotypes. Screening of several thousand segregating lines of the UniformMu maize population by near infrared spectroscopy has revealed several dozen mutants with visual and/or spectroscopic phenotypes, as well as altered carbohydrate-lignin compositions. Screening of reverse-genetics grids also has yielded mutants representing several families of cell wall-related genes. Together, these studies provide a foundation towards a systems approach for bioenergy grass improvement. Supported by NSF Plant Genome Research Program

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Related Links:
Cell Wall website

1 - Purdue University, Department of Biological Sciences, West Lafayette, IN, 47907
2 - Purdue University, Department of Biological Sciences
3 - University of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department
4 - Purdue University, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology
5 - University of Florida, Department of Agronomy
6 - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
7 - Ceres, Inc.

cell wall
comparative functional genomics
C4 grass.

Presentation Type: ASPB Minisymposium
Session: M19
Location: Continental A/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Time: 4:34 PM
Number: M19004
Abstract ID:689

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