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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318966

Title: Breeding, genetics, and genomics of switchgrass and big bluestem

item Casler, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass is a candidate for cellulosic bioenergy feedstock development in many parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. Breeding for increased biomass yield is one of the most important objectives, with the goal to reach yield levels to ensure economic sustainability. Conventional field-based breeding has been responsible for long-term sustained increases in biomass yield ranging from 1 to 4% per year, depending on the source of germplasm. Hybridization between cold-tolerant upland types and late-flowering lowland types, followed by additional field-based selection, has been responsible for a 35-40% increase in biomass yield, with the net result of increasing biomass yield potential by nearly 60% during the past 25 years. We expect continued sustained selection and breeding to increase biomass yield by an additional 10-25% during the next 20 years. The use of genomic selection tools is expected to double this rate of gain, largely by replacing field-based selection with greenhouse-based selection of genomic markers for two out of three selection cycles. Development of northern-adapted switchgrass germplasm with the potential to yield 10 T/A (22 Mg/ha) is a reasonable research and development goal by 2035, as long as funding continues to support this type of research. Big bluestem breeding and development research has lagged significantly behind switchgrass, but limited results to date show similar potentials for improvement.