SGB Confirms Genetic Diversity of Jatropha curcas Is Comparable to Corn

SGB Confirms Genetic Diversity of Jatropha curcas Is Comparable to Corn 
SAN DIEGO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/20/13 --  SGB, Inc. (SG
Biofuels), an energy crop company delivering high performance
bioenergy solutions for the renewable fuel, biomass and chemical
markets, has identified over two million individual genetic markers
(SNPs) in its Jatropha curcas germplasm collection, confirming the
non-food energy crop has a genetic diversity comparable to corn and
other domesticated crops, and validating the ability to drive
significant yield and performance gains through molecular breeding. 
Through the use of emerging genetic technologies, SGB's scientists
have revealed that the company's germplasm collection can be divided
into a number of distinct heterotic clades, or genetically-related
groupings of plants. In contrast to previous studies, these findings
confirm significant genetic diversity in Jatropha which enables SGB
breeders to maximize hybrid vigor by identifying the most genetically
diverse parental lines to use for the creation of elite hybrid seeds.
Hybrid vigor, also known as heterosis, results in higher yields,
improved plant health and increased stress tolerance. SGB's
first-generation hybrids have outperformed commercial Jatropha
planting materials at 13 hybrid trial sites located across Brazil,
India and Central America. 
"Once thought to be a species with sparse genetic variation, our
molecular studies have confirmed that Jatropha curcas is indeed
genetically diverse and well-suited for significant yield
improvements," said Eric Mathur, Chief Technologist at SGB. "Based on
these results, the performance of our first generation hybrids merely
scratch the surface of the underlying genetic potential of Jatropha;
not only in terms of continued yield improvements, but also through
reduction of input costs and improvement of the harvest index." 
SGB's molecular and genetic technologies have advanced to the point
where millions of markers can be analyzed from a large number of
plants within a short period of time. SGB has established a next
generation DNA sequencing pipeline using the Ion Proton(TM) Sequencer
from Life Technologies Corporation and is embarking on a large-scale
Jatropha re-sequencing program designed to associate valuable
agronomic traits and plant attributes with genome wide markers. The
resulting dense genetic maps will dramatically accelerate the rate of
improvement of SGB's elite hybrid cultivars. 
In another technological achievement, SGB scientists have developed a
state of the art, high throughput genotyping pipeline for DNA
sequence-based allelic assignments. This genotyping platform enables
rapid and precise DNA barcoding of parental and hybrid lines with
unique digital sequence identifiers. These technologies, combined
with advanced genomic selection studies and tissue culture serve as
the foundation for SGB's molecular breeding program.  
Brian Brokowski
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