• Panicum virgatum ;
  • switchgrass;
  • bioenergy;
  • transcript sequence;
  • transcriptome;
  • genomics;
  • technical advance


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial C4 grass with the potential to become a major bioenergy crop. To help realize this potential, a set of RNA-based resources were developed. Expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated from two tetraploid switchgrass genotypes, Alamo AP13 and Summer VS16. Over 11.5 million high-quality ESTs were generated with 454 sequencing technology, and an additional 169 079 Sanger sequences were obtained from the 5′ and 3′ ends of 93 312 clones from normalized, full-length-enriched cDNA libraries. AP13 and VS16 ESTs were assembled into 77 854 and 30 524 unique transcripts (unitranscripts), respectively, using the Newbler and pave programs. Published Sanger-ESTs (544 225) from Alamo, Kanlow, and 15 other cultivars were integrated with the AP13 and VS16 assemblies to create a universal switchgrass gene index (PviUT1.2) with 128 058 unitranscripts, which were annotated for function. An Affymetrix cDNA microarray chip (Pvi_cDNAa520831) containing 122 973 probe sets was designed from PviUT1.2 sequences, and used to develop a Gene Expression Atlas for switchgrass (PviGEA). The PviGEA contains quantitative transcript data for all major organ systems of switchgrass throughout development. We developed a web server that enables flexible, multifaceted analyses of PviGEA transcript data. The PviGEA was used to identify representatives of all known genes in the phenylpropanoid–monolignol biosynthesis pathway.