A genome may reduce your carbon footprint

FeetMadison, WI, May 11, 2009 — With the costs of genome sequencing rapidly decreasing, and with the infrastructure now developed for almost anyone with access to a computer to cheaply store, access, and analyze sequence information, emphasis is increasingly being placed on ways to apply genome data to real world problems, including reducing dependency on fossil fuel. For the efficient production of bioenergy, this may be accomplished through development of improved feedstocks.

A recently published study examined the impact of very cheap sequence data (approximately 1USD per genome) on improvement of switchgrass, a perennial grass well suited to biomass production. Results were published in the current issue of The Plant Genome.

Acquiring the genetic component of natural variation is or will soon become cheap enough that it will soon be able to be incorporated through marker-assisted selection into almost all breeding programs. With availability of cheap sequencing capacity, neither complete sequence assembly nor gene annotation is required to apply these techniques.

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