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Switchgrass map to aid biofuel development

A genetic map for switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum) has been published by researchers from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The map was developed using two switchgrass varieties, and contains more than 1,000 genetic markers in 18 linkage groups attributed to one or the other parent. Switchgrass is traditionally used as a forage plant, especially on marginal land, but also has potential as a biomass and bioethanol feedstock. The publication of the linkage map will allow researchers to compare the gene profile of switchgrass with that of rice or sorghum to find analogous genes controlling specific traits of interest, especially for biofuel production. Details of the study were published in the US journal, Genetics.

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