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Future Applications of Setaria: An Open Letter From Tom Brutnell

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Dear colleagues,

As Director of the Enterprise Institute for Renewable Fuels, I oversee many projects at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center with the goal of developing new technologies that will drive sustainable energy production using bioenergy grasses, algae and oilseed crops.

Research in my group focuses on the transcriptional networks driving C4 photosynthetic development in the grasses including the model species, Setaria viridis. This panicoid grass is a close relative of several major food, feed and bioenergy feedstocks. Unlike many of its larger neighbors, Setaria’s small size genome (about 510 Mb) and simple diploid genetics make it an attractive system for gene discovery and synthetic biology.

During my presentation at the 4th Plant Genomics and Gene Editing Congress: Asia, I will be presenting some of our most recent research developments using Setaria viridis including its use as an engine to guide gene discovery in maize (including the jasmonic acid signalling pathway and inflorescence architecture traits) and to identify both common and unique aspects of the C4 photosynthetic pathway in the grasses.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming you to the conference and discussing the present and future applications of Setaria as a model system, while also addressing one of the main challenges of our research: understanding the mechanisms behind C4 photosynthetic differentiation and introducing novel C4 traits into C3 grasses.

Best wishes,

Tom Brutnell
Principal Investigator and Director, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, USA

If you are interested in hearing more about the latest applications in Setaria’s gene discovery, sign up to the 4th Plant Genomics and Gene Editing Congress: Asia.

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