ORNL Poplar Sequencing Team Receives Two Major Awards In One Night


Last week, Dr. Jerry Tuskan of ORNL, the head of the team that initiated and coordinated (with the DOE-Joint Genome Institute) the genome sequencing of Populus trichocarpa, the Black Cottonwood or poplar tree, received both the 2007 UT-Battelle Scientific Research Award and the ORNL Director’s Award for Outstanding Team Accomplishment The awards were given “For scientific and technical leadership provided during a 5-year period leading up to the DOE-sponsored sequencing of the first tree genome, the assembly and annotation of that genome, and the publication of those results in Science.” The fast-growing and widely dispersed poplar tree is a potential source of biomass for Bioenergy uses via the breaking down of the cellulose in its trunk into sugars and subsequent conversion to ethanol. Genome analyses will enable focused improvements in enzymatic deconstruction suitable for Bioenergy generation.