Functional genomics and molecular breeding of biodiesel feedstock plants.
One of the promising biodiesel feedstock plants is Jatropha curcas (Jatropha), which is a non-edible, tropical and subtropical shrub of the family Euphorbiaceae with strong adaptability to drought and impoverished soil. Jatropha seeds contain high amounts of oil (up to 40%) that has the similar characteristics to those of fossil diesel and can be processed to produce high-quality biodiesel. The research program of the laboratory focuses on floral sex determination, flower and seed development, and oil (triacylglycerol) biosynthesis in Jatropha. Our goal is to improve Jatropha seed yield and oil content through genomic and genetic engineering approaches combined with the application of state-of-the-art techniques in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, biotechnology, and traditional breeding, and to develop Jatropha as a model plant for energy plant research.