Grass Genetics

The focus of the Grass Genetics Group is on understanding the biology of plant cell walls in grasses. Both forward and reverse genetic approaches are being used to determine the functions of genes involved in grass cell wall biosynthesis and modification.

Researchers have developed a diversity of tools to probe cell wall function including: probabilistic functional gene networks, phylogenomic databases, and mutant populations in rice and sorghum. They have used computational predictions and genetic screens to identify and engineer genes involved in cell wall biosynthesis and modification.


  • Identification and characterization of rice and sorghum mutants that control cell wall synthesis and modification
  • Generation of genomic and computational tools to facilitate identification of rice, sorghum and switchgrass genes that control cell wall biosynthesis and modification
  • Functional characterization of genes regulating cell wall biosynthesis and modification

Featured Media

pam-ronald TED2015

How genetic engineering can fight disease, reduce insecticide use and enhance food security

JBEI’s Director of Grass Genetics Pamela Ronald speaks at TED2015


A Better Route to Xylan

Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Find New Access to Abundant Biomass for Advanced Biofuels


Genome-scale Network of Rice Genes to Speed the Development of Biofuel Crops

Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Create RiceNet for Predicting Genetic Functions in Rice

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