of Jatropha genome completed for biofuel generation
Life Technologies Corporation, a provider
of life science solutions, and SG Biofuels, Inc., a bioenergy
crop company, announced that they have completed sequencing the
Jatropha curcas genome to 100x coverage, using the SOLiD™ 4.0
System by Life Technologies.
The sequence accelerates the identification of key traits for
the oilseed-producing crop and advances its development as a
high yielding, low-cost source for next generation biofuel.
Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central
America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be used
for a variety of bio-based materials including feedstock substitutes
for the diesel, petrochemical and jet fuel industries. It can
be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable
for food crops, making it a viable option as a new biofuel.
Working in strategic alliance with Life Technologies, SG Biofuels
will use the sequence to generate a high quality Jatropha reference
genome. The genome will be compared to sequences generated from
SG Biofuels’ germplasm library of more than 6,000 unique Jatropha
genotypes – the largest and most diverse collection of Jatropha
germplasm in the world – to identify molecular markers and trait
genes to accelerate development of elite cultivars with vastly
superior yields and profitability. This work will also advance
the introduction of transgenic plants with further improved traits.
In addition to extensive phenotypic diversity, preliminary molecular
marker studies illustrate that SG Biofuels Jatropha germplasm
collection exhibits approximately 10 times the genetic diversity
observed in a collection of Jatropha from India, Africa, and
Asia (Basha et al 2009).
“The value of a Jatropha reference genome is enhanced significantly
by having a diverse collection of plant material for comparison,”
said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer of SG
Biofuels. “The sequence adds a powerful new tool to our development
platform, allowing us to rapidly unlock the true potential of
Jatropha as the most profitable and sustainable biofuel feedstock.”
SG Biofuels’ integrated breeding and biotechnology approach forms
the foundation for its JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform, providing
research agencies, growers and plantation developers with access
to the company’s germplasm library, the reference genome, molecular
markers and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to optimize
elite Jatropha cultivars for unique growing conditions around