John Baker, M.S. Student
|B.S.||Plant and Soil Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2014|
John Baker’s project under the guidance of Dr. Yanqi Wu is investigating the selfing and crossing ratios of two switchgrass genotypes. This project is one in a series of projects that began 2011 after Dr. Wu discovered that these two genotypes were self-compatible in controlled conditions. In simple terms, this means that these plants are capable of producing viable seed after being pollinated with their own pollen rather than having to be fertilized by the pollen of another plant. The discovery of switchgrass plants that could do this is significant since switchgrass was believed to only produce viable seed from cross pollination. The project uses SSR genetic markers to test inbred descendants of these two plants to determine if they resulted from self or cross pollination. The goal of this project and the projects that laid the groundwork for it is to eventually develop a method to make switchgrass hybrids. This research has potential to greatly accelerate the improvement of switchgrass cultivars, in the areas of increasing biomass production and other traits that will enhance its performance as a bioenergy feedstock.