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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Something new under the Arizona sun: a robotic revolution in plant breeding

On a bright, hot day this June in Arizona, a vehicle the size of a Golden Retriever, designed and constructed at the University of Illinois, rolls on miniature tank treads between two rows of young plants. A group of researchers, policy-makers, and farmers have gathered to see the early fruits of an unusual hybridization in modern agriculture: a crop of semi-autonomous robots designed to monitor the growth of sorghum and other crops, born of a cross between plant biology and engineering.

Illinois awarded $5M to increase water use efficiency in bioenergy sorghum

The University of Illinois has been awarded a 3-year, $5 million grant from the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy as part of its OPEN 2015 funding initiative (ARPA-E OPEN). Under Principal Investigator Andrew Leakey, Associate Professor of Plant Biology, the interdisciplinary and multi-institutional team intends to increase the water use efficiency (WUE) of sorghum, a valuable bioenergy crop.

University of Illinois Awarded $3.1M Grant from DOE ARPA-E

The University of Illinois announced that it has been awarded a 2-year, $3.1 million grant from the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The U. of I. will be the lead institution on the Mobile Energy-crop Phenotyping Platform (MEPP), working in partnership with researchers from Cornell University and Signetron Inc.

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