University of Illinois researchers complete sugarcane genome sequence

In Illinois, for centuries, sugarcane has supplied human societies with alcohol, biofuel, building and weaving materials, and the world’s most relied-upon source of sugar. Now, researchers have extracted a sweet scientific prize from sugarcane: its massive and complex genome sequence, which may lead to the development of hardier and more productive cultivars.

Producing the comprehensive sequence required a concerted effort by over 100 scientists from 16 institutions; the work took five years and culminated in a publication in Nature Genetics. But the motivation to tackle the project arose long before.

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