Willow Genome Sequencing & Bioinformatics Integration Project

Lead Research Organisation: Earlham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


BSBEC-BioMASS (the Perennial Energy Crops programme within BSBEC) is providing the underpinning science needed to improve short rotation coppice (SRC) willow as a key UK biomass feedstock for renewable fuels and bioproducts. This project builds on unique genetic resources in SRC willow available at Rothamsted Research. Initial targets will be growth traits associated with increased yield and increased conversion of the biomass to usable products.

In order to aid the BSBEC-BioMASS consortium to bridge the gap between phenotype and genotype in relation to the key target traits under pursuit, a draft reference sequence for Salix viminalis will be generated. The reference will be assembled, annotated and made publicly available via a genome browser and through deposition of the sequence into the appropriate public archives. In addition the genomes of ten parents of willow mapping populations and a further 22 members of an association mapping diversity panel will be resequenced. Variations within these 32 accessions will be identified and made publicly available, which will enable fine mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTL). Candidate mutations within genes contained in QTL regions can then be readily identified and selected for downstream investigation, improving the efficiency of gene discovery work based on QTL.


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Description This project seeks to understand the genetics basis of willow growth and biomass. For that we sequenced and analysed a number of individuals from the willow biomass collection at Rothamsted Research.
Exploitation Route The work has characterised a number of biological markers that can be used for the breeding of willows with specific advantageous traits.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment