Instrumentation that can sequence the entire genome of an organism is now available at South Dakota State University, thanks to funding from National Science Foundation, the Agricultural Experiment Station, SDSU Office of Technology and Security, and South Dakota’s BioSystems Networks and Translational Research Center.
Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science associate professor Jose Gonzalez led a team of researchers that secured the funding. The team included department colleagues assistant professor Sunish Sehgal and associate professor Senthil Subramanian as well as biology and microbiology professor Heike Bucking. The NSF award provided nearly $350,000, and the Agricultural Experiment Station and the SDSU Office of Technology and Security provided an additional 30 percent in matching funds.
Gonzalez oversees the genome sequencing laboratory at the Young Brothers Seed Technology Laboratory, which offers fee-based sequencing services to researchers at universities and biotechnology firms. Thus far, the lab has sequenced more than 150 samples.
Specifically, the sequencing facility has helped Subramanian and his team customize and select the most efficient method for constructing gene expression libraries for a NSF-funded project that seeks to identify the genes involved in soybean nodule development.
In addition, Gonzalez and his collaborators will sequence the full prairie cordgrass plant genome, the first complex genome sequenced in South Dakota. Prairie cordgrass is a potential feedstock for biofuel production.