Washington State University researchers part of major pennycress study

November 3, 2020 |

In Washington state, researchers at Washington State University are taking a closer look at the genetics and physiology of pennycress, as part of a multi-institutional, $12.9 million research project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and led by Illinois State University.

Their five-year goal: to help develop a winter cover crop that can thrive in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Corn Belt, and beyond.

They join collaborators at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Minnesota, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Ohio State University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Western Illinois University, and CoverCress, Inc., in efforts to improve oilseed genetics.

Launched in September, this new project will help define genetic traits that promote good yields, define oil content and profiles, and improve stress resilience for a changing climate.

The team will use gene editing and combining of desirable traits, sequencing of natural, beneficial genetic changes and mutations, as well as the study of traits, the transcriptome, and the metabolome—the complex web of chemicals that interact within living things—to build knowledge for breeding and crop development. Sanguinet expects that their findings will deliver a better understanding of basic oilseed biology to help improve related oilseed crops, such as canola and camelina.

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Category: Research

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