AMES, Iowa – New research led by an Iowa State University agronomist identifies clear patterns in how plants react to different environments that could lead to new ways of predicting crop performance.

The research focuses on flowering time in sorghum, a globally cultivated cereal plant, but the results could have implications for nearly all crops, said Jianming Yu, professor of agronomy and the Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding. The study, published recently in the peer-reviewed academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on phenotypic plasticity, or the way plant traits respond to environmental factors.

The Brown Graduate Fellowship has been awarded to two Agronomy Graduate students, Qi Mu and Mauricio Tejera. The Brown Graduate Fellowship is to be used to strategically advance ISU research in the areas of study that are governed by the Valentine Hammes Family and Leopold Hammes Brown Family Trust.  The areas of study include science, agriculture, and space science. The preference is to fund Ph.D. students, although exceptional M.S. students will be considered.


Brown Graduate Fellowship Awardee

Dr. Maria G Salas-Fernandez
Associate Professor

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is a C4 species sensitive to the cold spring conditions that occur at northern latitudes, especially when coupled with excessive light, and that greatly affect the photosynthetic rate. The objective of this study was to discover genes/genomic regions that control the capacity to cope with excessive energy under low temperature conditions during the vegetative growth period. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was conducted for seven photosynthetic gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence traits under three consecutive temperature treatments: control (28 °C/24 °C), cold (15 °C/15 °C), and recovery (28 °C/24 °C). Cold stress significantly reduced the rate of photosynthetic CO2 uptake of sorghum plants, and a total of 143 unique genomic regions were discovered associated with at least one trait in a particular treatment or with derived variables.

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University is a partner institution in a new, $104 million research center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the project will study the next generation of plant-based, sustainable, cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts.

The DOE grant will form the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, one of only four in the nation. The center will be a collaboration between Illinois’ Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Evan H. DeLucia, the G. William Arends Professor of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, will serve as the center’s director.

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