Scientists Decode Sorghum GenomeJanuary 30, 2009
An international team of researchers have deciphered the genetic blueprint of sorghum, a hardy crop and important food, fodder and biofuel source. Scientists believe that the breakthrough could eventually lead to the development of drought-resistant crops for arid regions with rapidly burgeoning population, such as West Africa. Sorghum is the second grass to have its genome sequenced, after rice. The comparative analysis of the sorghum genome appears in the recent issue of the journal Nature.
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), a close relative of sugarcane, originates from tropical Africa where it is a staple food and is now grown in dry areas in the U.S. and India. Worldwide production of sorghum is estimated at 60 million tons annually. The researchers used the whole genome “shotgun” method of sequencing, wherein short random DNA stretches are partially sequenced and then analyzed by a supercomputer to reconstruct the original genome sequence. The technique was first pioneered in the Human Genome Project.
With approximately 730 million nucleotides and 30,000 genes, the crop’s genome is 75 percent larger than the size of rice. Comparisons of the genome with rice shed light on the evolution of grasses and of C4 photosynthesis, a carbon fixation pathway found in plants growing in conditions of high temperature and light intensity and low water availability. The scientists also found evidences that recent gene and microRNA duplications contributed to sorghum's drought tolerance. For instance, the rice miRNA 169g, upregulated during drought stress, has five sorghum homologs.
Subscribers to Nature can read the full article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature07723 For more information, read http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7229/full/nature07723.html and http://www.jgi.doe.gov/News/news_09_01_28.html
The Crop Biotech Update is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a non-for-profit organization. The CBU is distributed for free to over 23,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in agricultural biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Scientists Decode Sorghum Genome
- UN Calls for Continued Efforts to Fight Hunger
- Von Braun Receives Bertebos Prize
- Brain Chemical Causes Locusts to Swarm
- Drought-Tolerant Maize for Africa
- Collaboration Yields Complete Pepper Genetic Map
- Brazil Approves Herculex Corn for Cultivation
- Monsanto and GrassRoots Sign Agreement
- Climate Change Might Enhance Grassland Productivity
- UK Report Says Technology Can Guarantee Global Food Sustainability
- Tracing the Evolution History of Rice to Improve Future Varieties
- Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria for Efficient Biofuel Production
- Reading Genomes Like Books
- Lignin Discovery May Lead to Revision of Plant Evolution Timeline
- BioAsia 2009
- Call for Biotech Humanitarian Award Nominees
- Moscow International Biotech Congress
- International Conference on Highlands Agriculture
- BecA Seeks Technology Manager
- Global Risk Report 2009
- Agropedia - Online Agricultural Information Resource
Subscribe to CBU: