Biotech Updates

Aberystwyth University and Ceres Complete Full Genetic Map of Miscanthus

March 23, 2012

Researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales and Ceres, Inc. in the United States have successfully completed the first high-resolution and comprehensive genetic map of miscanthus, a promising energy crop. This development provides important breakthrough towards advanced bioenergy production.

The long-term collaboration between Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) and Ceres involved mapping all 19 chromosomes of miscanthus, a towering, cane-like grass, used as a feedstock for advanced biofuels, bio-products and biopower. The project also included the generation and analysis of 400 million DNA sequences to create a blueprint of the genetic alphabet of the plant.

Iain Donnison, head of the Bioenergy team at IBERS says the mapping project has provided greater insight into how the miscanthus genome compares with other well-understood crops, as little has been known about its genetics. Ceres Chief Scientific Officer Richard Flavell says that the rapid improvements in breeding made possible by this mapping project are needed for miscanthus to be more widely used as an energy crop.

For more information about this new breakthrough, go to