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Title: Final Report DE-SC0006634. Quantifying phenotypic and genetic diversity of Miscanthus sinensis as a resource for knowledge-based improvement of M. ×giganteus (M. sinensis × M. sacchariflorus)

Miscanthus is especially attractive as a bioenergy crop for temperate environments because it produces high yields, needs few inputs, and grows well during the cool weather of early spring and late fall when few warm-season grasses can. However, Miscanthus feedstock production for the emerging U.S. bioenergy industry and for existing demand in Europe is based on a single sterile, vegetatively propagated variety of M. ×giganteus. M. ×giganteus is an interspecific hybrid of the parental species M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus. Prior to the current study, little information existed about the genetic diversity and breeding potential of either M. ×giganteus parental species. In the current project, we studied more than 600 accessions of M. sinensis from throughout its native range in China, Japan, and Korea, in addition to ornamental cultivars and U.S. naturalized populations. Using thousands of DNA markers, we identified seven geographically distinct genetic groups of M. sinensis. Notably, we found that the ornamental cultivars and U.S. naturalized populations were derived from only a subset of the Southern Japan group, indicating that our study greatly increased the genetic diversity available for breeding new biomass cultivars. Additionally, this new understanding of M. sinensis population structure could be used to predict whichmore » crosses may produce progeny with the greatest hybrid vigor. Replicated field trials were also established at multiple locations in North America and Asia. Data on traits of importance for biomass productivity, such as flowering time, yield and height, were taken. Analyses of the phenotypic data from the field trials along with the DNA markers allowed us to identify many marker-trait associations. These results will enable marker-assisted breeding, which will allow selection at the seedling stage rather than waiting two to three years to obtain phenotypic data. Thus, this study is expected to greatly increase the efficiency of breeding Miscanthus for improved adaptation and biomass yield.« less
  1. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS Miscanthus, bioenergy, genetic diversity, population structure, GWAS, marker-trait association