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Breeding progress and preparedness for mass-scale deployment of perennial lignocellulosic biomass crops switchgrass, miscanthus, willow and poplar

John Clifton-Brown 1 Antoine Harfouche 2 Michael D. Casler 3 Huw Dylan Jones 1 William J. Macalpine 4 Donal Murphy-Bokern 5 Lawrence B. Smart 6 Anneli Adler 7, 8 Chris Ashman 1 Danny Awty-Carroll 1 Catherine Bastien 9 Sebastian Bopper 10 Vasile Botnari 11 Maryse Brancourt-Hulmel 12 Zhiyong Chen 13 Lindsay V. Clark 14, 15 Salvatore Cosentino 16 Sue Dalton 1 Chris Davey 1 Oene Dolstra 17 Iain Donnison 1 Richard Flavell 18 Joerg Greef 19 Steve Hanley 4 Astley Hastings 20 Magnus Hertzberg 7 Tsai-Wen Hsu 21 Lin S. Huang 1 Antonella Iurato 1 Elaine Jensen 1 Xiaoli Jin 22 Uffe Jorgensen 23, 24 Andreas Kiesel 10 Do-Soon Kim 25 Jianxiu Liu 26 Jon P. Mccalmont 1 Bernard G. Mcmahon 27 Michal Mos 28 Paul Robson 1 Erik J. Sacks 14, 15 Anatolii Sandu 11 Giovanni Scalici 16 Kai Schwarz 19 Danilo Scordia 16 Reza Shafiei 29 Ian Shield 4 Gancho Slavov 4 Brian J. Stanton 30 Kankshita Swaminathan 31 Gail Taylor 32 Andres F. Torres 17 Luisa M. Trindade 17 Timothy Tschaplinski 33 Gerald A. Tuskan 33 Toshihiko Yamada 34 Chang Yeon Yu 35 Ronald S. Zalesny 36 Junqin Zong 26 Iris Lewandowski 10
Abstract : Genetic improvement through breeding is one of the key approaches to increasing biomass supply. This paper documents the breeding progress to date for four perennial biomass crops (PBCs) that have high output-input energy ratios: namely Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), species of the genera Miscanthus (miscanthus), Salix (willow) and Populus (poplar). For each crop, we report on the size of germplasm collections, the efforts to date to phenotype and genotype, the diversity available for breeding and on the scale of breeding work as indicated by number of attempted crosses. We also report on the development of faster and more precise breeding using molecular breeding techniques. Poplar is the model tree for genetic studies and is furthest ahead in terms of biological knowledge and genetic resources. Linkage maps, transgenesis and genome editing methods are now being used in commercially focused poplar breeding. These are in development in switchgrass, miscanthus and willow generating large genetic and phenotypic data sets requiring concomitant efforts in informatics to create summaries that can be accessed and used by practical breeders. Cultivars of switchgrass and miscanthus can be seed-based synthetic populations, semihybrids or clones. Willow and poplar cultivars are commercially deployed as clones. At local and regional level, the most advanced cultivars in each crop are at technology readiness levels which could be scaled to planting rates of thousands of hectares per year in about 5 years with existing commercial developers. Investment in further development of better cultivars is subject to current market failure and the long breeding cycles. We conclude that sustained public investment in breeding plays a key role in delivering future mass-scale deployment of PBCs.
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John Clifton-Brown, Antoine Harfouche, Michael D. Casler, Huw Dylan Jones, William J. Macalpine, et al.. Breeding progress and preparedness for mass-scale deployment of perennial lignocellulosic biomass crops switchgrass, miscanthus, willow and poplar. Global Change Biology - Bioenergy, 2019, 11 (1), pp.118 - 151. ⟨10.1111/gcbb.12566⟩. ⟨hal-02627642⟩

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