A promising new energy crop has had its genetic map created by Aberystwyth University, in Wales, and US-based Ceres Inc.
According to the online journal PLoS One, the team from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth have created a collection of genetically related plants which were then sequenced and analysed by Ceres. The crop, known as Miscanthus, is a cane-like grass that could be used for advanced biofuels; as well as in other bio-products.
Researchers have discovered 20,000 genetic differences that allow individual plants to be differentiated based on small variations within their DNA. Around 3,500 of these could be used for crop improvement purposes.
According to Richard Flavell, who is the chief scientific officer at Ceres, the improvements in breeding techniques were needed for Miscanthus to be used widely. It has mainly been used previously for electricity generation but was not seen as viable due to its high production costs.
Seeded types should require less time, effort and money to be bred for different environments and now Ceres is evaluating the crop in a number of locations.
Paul is a freelance writer with a background in everything from motoring to finance; and holidays to women's undergarments he just writes about them, honestly! He has now sadly crept into his early 30s and seems to have forgotten everything learned at school Still, he's a green car fanatic and isn't that what counts?
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