A population genomics approach to accelerating the domestication of the energy grass Miscanthus

Aberystwyth University

Our project will take advantage of an extensive germplasm collection and apply marker-assisted approaches to accelerate a world-leading breeding programme for the promising energy crop Miscanthus. To achieve this goal, we will first acquire prerequisite information on genome-wide patterns of DNA polymorphism. Then, we will characterise the genomic architectures of phenotypic traits targeted by breeders (i.e., determine the approximate number of DNA polymorphisms underlying genetic variation for each trait and quantify the phenotypic effect of each polymorphism) using state of the art statistical models. Finally, we will apply the genomic selection approach described above to Miscanthus, potentially accelerating breeding cycles 2-3 times and benefitting not only plant scientists and breeders, but also farmers and the general public.