PI: Tom Brutnell (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis)
Co-PIs: Ivan Baxter (USDA ARS, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis), Asaph Cousins (Washington State University), Jose Dinneny (Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford), Andrew Leakey (UIUC), Todd Mockler (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center), Sue Rhee (Carnegie Institution for Science), Daniel Voytas (University of Minnesota)
Funding Source: DOE $12.1 million total, $1.8 million to Illinois DOE DE-SC0008769
This multidisciplinary research team will address two important challenges to developing high-yield bioenergy crops that can grow in arid, marginal lands to avoid land competition with food crops. The project will start by conducting an extensive quantitative trait loci (QTL) study of drought tolerance and planting density in the model C4 grass Setaria viridis, which is a close relative of biomass crops such as switchgrass, sugarcane, sorghum, and Miscanthus. Extensive molecular and physiological studies will be carried out in selected lines to build integrated metabolic and genetic networks; candidate genes will then be analyzed in the context of those network models. New transformation technologies will be tailored for Setaria biodesign, and methods for monitoring flow of transgenes will be developed as part of this project.