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2-Plants: Sorghum to be the second cereal crop sequenced

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Ensuring Sorghum's Profitability
        Sorghum to be the Second Cereal Crop Sequenced
SOURCE: National Sorghum Producers, USA
DATE:   22 Aug 2005

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Ensuring Sorghum's Profitability
Sorghum to be the Second Cereal Crop Sequenced

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) announced that
sorghum will be the second cereal crop genome to be sequenced.

Citing information from the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute
(JGI) Computation Genomics Program Head Dr. Daniel Rokhsar, sorghum has
been targeted for sequencing in 2006. The JGI was instrumental in
sequencing the human genome.

According to NSP Research Director Dr. Jeff Dahlberg, the project will
engage an international consortium led by Dr. Andrew Paterson from the
University of Georgia. Dahlberg said the project is a logical outgrowth
of long-term research efforts that have been supported by NSP to enhance
the knowledge of the hereditary information of the sorghum plant. In the
past, genomics research has been funded by sources including the National
Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program, the United States
Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative, and the
International Consortium for Sugarcane Biotechnology.

"This is as important as the advent of sorghum hybrids 50 years ago,"
said Dahlberg. "Sequencing sorghum is a critical a step in building our
knowledge base on how plants function and, like the use of hybrids, will
allow us to make significant advancements in crop improvement for the
next 50 years. This project will be valuable as we move from fundamental
studies of genome organization and gene discovery to applied efforts in

Rice was the first cereal grain to be sequenced and Dahlberg said that
sorghum is the most logical choice for the next sequencing project
because the crops are so complementary. "Sorghum is an important bridge
to closely-related large-genome crops in its own tribe such as maize and
sugarcane. Analysis of the levels and patterns of genomic diversity
within and between sorghum, sugarcane, rice, and maize promises to
advance our understanding of the biology and evolution of Poaceae grain
and biomass crops, and create new opportunities for their improvement.
Sorghum is one of the world's leading grain crops, and is an important
model for tropical grasses worldwide."

NSP represents U.S. sorghum producers nationwide. Headquartered in
Lubbock, Texas, in the heart of the U.S. Sorghum Belt that stretches from
the Rockies to the Mississippi River and from South Texas to South
Dakota, the organization works to ensure the profitability of sorghum
production through market development, research, education and
legislative representation.

Jeff Dahlberg, NSP (806) 749-3478
Dave Gilbert, DOE (925) 296-5643


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