Bionformatics Helps Identify Genes Associated with Plant Cell Wall Traits
The completion of the whole genome sequence of poplar (Populus) has made possible the use of bioinformatics and evolutionary methods to identify new candidate genes associated with plant cell wall traits. Researchers at DOE’s BioEnergy Science Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used information on the poplar genome structure and its duplication, quantitative trait locus mapping, and analysis of publicly available microarray data to reduce the thousands of poplar genes that could contribute to cell wall traits down to 15-20 candidate genes. These genes are now being tested experimentally to identify their functions. This research highlights how bioinformatics can help focus research in the most promising directions potentially reducing time consuming experimental methods for correlating genes with phenotype. The results will facilitate research to enhance plant biomass properties for more efficient conversion into biofuels.
P. Ranjan, et al., “Bioinformatics-Based Identification of Candidate Genes from QTLs Associated with Cell Wall Traits in Populus,” Bioenergy Research, June 2010, Vol. 3 pg. 172-182.