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Ceres and Texas A&M to develop and market high-biomass sorghum for biofuels
Date:10/5/2007

ment, Ceres and TAES will work together to expand their marker-assisted breeding efforts. Markers allow plant breeders to identify useful traits in seed tissue or when plants are still seedlings. Large numbers of markers provide a roadmap of the sorghum genome, cutting years off development timelines for new products, and making it easier to improve the makeup of the plants to facilitate processing.

"Markers and biotechnology will be crucial for developing sorghum for cellulosic biofuels," says Rooney.

Mascia said Ceres has Texas-sized expectations for the collaboration. "When we combine their resources with our high-throughput trait development capabilities, we believe we can double the rate of improvement to biomass yields, while expanding the range of the crop for earlier planting in cooler and drier conditions, especially on so-called marginal or unproductive land," said Mascia.

He expects that commercial quantities of the initial hybrids will be available in time to meet the requirements of the first cellulosic biorefineries currently being planned.

As part of this agreement, Ceres will obtain exclusive commercialization rights to TAES's high biomass sorghum hybrids developed in the joint research program. The TAES program will receive royalties as well as financial and technology support from Ceres. Other aspects of the collaboration were not disclosed.

"This agreement between Ceres and TAES is a great model of how research institutions and the private sector can collaborate to accelerate existing research programs to solve our country's future energy needs," said Dr. Mark Hussey, director of TAES. "Having our scientists work jointly on future bioenergy research is a win-win situation for both TAES and Ceres, and will help meet the growing demand for biofuels through the development of cellulosic feedstocks."


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Contact: Jason Cook
jason.cook@tamu.edu
979-862-7346
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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