Transcriptional Analysis of Flowering Time in SwitchgrassReport as inadecuate

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BioEnergy Research

pp 1–14

First Online: 27 April 2017DOI: 10.1007-s12155-017-9832-9

Cite this article as: Tornqvist, CE., Vaillancourt, B., Kim, J. et al. Bioenerg. Res. 2017. doi:10.1007-s12155-017-9832-9


Over the past two decades, switchgrass Panicum virgatum has emerged as a priority biofuel feedstock. The bulk of switchgrass biomass is in the vegetative portion of the plant; therefore, increasing the length of vegetative growth will lead to an increase in overall biomass yield. The goal of this study was to gain insight into the control of flowering time in switchgrass that would assist in development of cultivars with longer vegetative phases through delayed flowering. RNA sequencing was used to assess genome-wide expression profiles across a developmental series between switchgrass genotypes belonging to the two main ecotypes: upland, typically early flowering, and lowland, typically late flowering. Leaf blades and tissues enriched for the shoot apical meristem SAM were collected in a developmental series from emergence through anthesis for RNA extraction. RNA from samples that flanked the SAM transition stage was sequenced for expression analyses. The analyses revealed differential expression patterns between early- and late-flowering genotypes for known flowering time orthologs. Namely, genes shown to play roles in photoperiod response and the circadian clock in other species were identified as potential candidates for regulating flowering time in the switchgrass genotypes analyzed. Based on their expression patterns, many of the differentially expressed genes could also be classified as putative promoters or repressors of flowering. The candidate genes presented here may be used to guide switchgrass improvement through marker-assisted breeding and-or transgenic or gene editing approaches.

KeywordsSwitchgrass Biomass Flowering time RNAseq Differential expression Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s12155-017-9832-9 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Author: Carl-Erik Tornqvist - Brieanne Vaillancourt - Jeongwoon Kim - C. Robin Buell - Shawn M. Kaeppler - Michael D. Casler


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