Projects and Collaborations

Rosetta Green has several projects regarding the use of microRNAs to develop plants with improved biofuel-related traits. This includes both feedstocks for bio-ethanol and biodiesel production. Some of the major projects related to improved production of biofuels from plants are listed below:

  • Hundreds of new microRNAs were identified in Castor Bean, these now form the basis for high throughput microRNA gene analyses. In this respect, we have an ongoing collaboration with a large seed company related to the use of microRNAs to develop improved Castor Bean plants for biodiesel production.
  • Jatropha, which is one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production, is naturally resistant to drought and pests and produces up to 40% oil. Rosetta Green has sequenced and now posses thousands of microRNAs from Jatropha. These sequences can be screened and connected to different trait of interest.
  • Soybean oil is the primary source of biodiesel in the United States, accounting for 80% of domestic biodiesel production. Rosetta Green has found microRNAs that correlate with some key traits in soybean, including agriculture- and biofuel-related traits. Developing soybean plants that can withstand harsh conditions will assist the profitability of biodiesel production from this plant.
  • Corn is the main feedstock used to produce bio-ethanol in the United States. Rosetta Green has invested many resources in discovering microRNAs that are related to various key traits in corn.
  •  Sorghum is used in India and other countries as a feedstock for bio-ethanol. Sorghum is also naturally resistant to drought and grows in arid areas. Rosetta Green has identified hundreds of microRNAs from Sorghum and performed many experiments with this plant. We believe that we can learn from sorghum how to "naturally" deal with drought and other stresses, and apply this knowledge in other, less adapted plants.