Switchgrass, a C4 species and a warm-season grass native to the prairies of North America, has been targeted for development into an herbaceous biomass fuel crop. Genetic improvement of switchgrass feedstock traits through marker-assisted breeding and biotechnology approaches calls for genomic tools development. Establishment of integrated physical and genetic maps for switchgrass will accelerate mapping of value added traits useful to breeding programs and to isolate important target genes using map based cloning. The reported polyploidy series in switchgrass ranges from diploid (2X = 18) to duodecaploid (12X = 108). Like in other large, repeat-rich plant genomes, this genomic complexity will hinder whole genome sequencing efforts. An extensive physical map providing enough information to resolve the homoeologous genomes would provide the necessary framework for accurate assembly of the switchgrass genome.
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