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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Scientists engineer crops to conserve water, resist drought

Agriculture already monopolizes 90 percent of global freshwater—yet production still needs to dramatically increase to feed and fuel this century’s growing population. For the first time, scientists have improved how a crop uses water by 25 percent without compromising yield by altering the expression of one gene that is found in all plants, as reported in Nature Communications.

DOE grants $10.6 million to produce more biodiesel, biojet fuel

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the University of Illinois a $10.6 million, five-year grant to transform two of the most productive crops in America into sustainable sources of biodiesel and biojet fuel. The new research project Renewable Oil Generated with Ultra-productive Energycane—or ROGUE—kicks off on Feb. 25 with a team meeting held in conjunction with the 2018 Genomic Sciences Program Annual Principal Investigator Meeting in Tysons, Virginia.

Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

Five faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list), including four from the IGB.

The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world,” according to Clarivate Analytics.  It is based on an analysis of journal article publication and citation data, an objective measure of a researcher’s influence, from 2005-15.

Giant reed is a photosynthetic outlier, study finds

Arundo donax, a giant reed that grows in the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, isn’t like other prolific warm-weather grasses, researchers report. This grass, which can grow annually to 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) in height, uses a type of photosynthesis that is more common to crop plants like soybeans, rice and peanuts.

The new findings are published in Scientific Reports, a Nature publishing group journal.

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.

Illinois Study May Improve Rice Productivity

Illinois study may improve rice productivity

Transnational rice study on photosynthesis could improve international food security 

University of Illinois researchers established the university's first rice paddy to test rice performance in Illinois and at Kyoto University in Japan. The two plots, which were planted on the same date, should reveal clues about what factors help the plants more efficiently convert the sun’s energy into food, known as photosynthetic performance.

Three IGB faculty named Illinois Center for Advanced Study Professors

Three IGB faculty receive recognition from Illinois’ Center for Advanced Study

IGB faculty members Nigel Goldenfeld, Stephen Long, and Jonathan Sweedler were among nine Illinois faculty who have been named as the Center for Advanced Study’s most recently elected Professors. Goldenfeld, Long, and Sweedler collectively represent six of the nine IGB Research Themes, and all three are engaged in innovative work that spans multiple campus research units.

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