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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of AGronomy and Plant Genetics

PI: John W. Gronwald

Improving Alfalfa and Other Forage Crops for Bioenergy, Livestock Production, and Environmental Protection

These researchers use global transcript profiling of alfalfa stems to identify and functionally characterize key genes regulating total cell wall accumulation and chemical composition. Gaps in knowledge of genes regulating cell wall synthesis in alfalfa hinder development of genetic approaches to improve energy availability by modifying cell walls. Increasing alfalfa stem cellulose and reducing lignin will increase bioconversion efficiency for ethanol production.

These researchers have used the Expressionist software package to analyze Medicago microarray data. They have also used a bioinformatics module to BLAST sequences against nucleotide or protein databases. During the next period, the researchers will continue their microarray and sequence-analysis work. In addition, they are expanding the use of MSI resources to include GeneSpring, MYSQL, and SNP/SFP detection and analysis.

Group Member

Sam Yang, Research Associate