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Jan 28, 2009

Sorghum Genome Completed

Photo: Mississippi Genome
Exploration Laboratory
Rutgers University has announced that a team of its scientific researchers have published in Nature that they have completed sequencing the genome of sorghum, a drought-tolerant grass that is a food staple in Africa.

The Rutgers research team was led by Drs. Joachim Messing and Rémy Bruggmann.  Messing is Director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers.  He has been involved in the rice, maize, and now sorghum genome sequencing projects.

Messing noted that his team choose to gene map sorghum , "[w]e are interested in it for food and animal feed, and more recently as the basis of a biofuel." Another team member, Dr. Daniel G. Peterson explained that sorghum is "resistance to heat and water stress allow it to be grown in regions where corn or other grain crops cannot compete."

One variety, sweet sorghum is particularly suited to challenging sugarcane as the most efficient biofuel.  "[S]orghum is superior to corn as a biofuel since the entire plant may be used, not just the grain – the kernels of corn."

For more see:

 "Sequencing of Sorghum Genome Completed; Drought-resistant food, feed and biofuel source sequenced by international team." Rutgers University, Media Relations, 28 Jan. 2009.

Paterson, Andrew H. et al. "The Sorghum bicolor genome and the diversification of grasses," Nature,

457 (29 January 2009): 551-556

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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