With dwindling fossil oil resources and increased economic growth of many developing countries due to globalization, energy driven from an alternative source such as bio-energy in a sustainable fashion is the need of the hour. However, production of energy from biological source is relatively expensive due to low starch and sugar contents of bioenergy plants leading to lower oil yield and reduced quality along with lower conversion efficiency of feedstock. In this context genetic improvement of bio-energy plants offers a viable solution. In this manuscript, we reviewed the current status of functional genomics studies and related patent activities in bio-energy plants. Currently, genomes of considerable bio-energy plants have been sequenced or are in progress and also large amount of expression sequence tags (EST) or cDNA sequences are available from them. These studies provide fundamental data for more reliable genome annotation and as a result, several genomes have been annotated in a genome-wide level. In addition to this effort, various mutagenesis tools have also been employed to develop mutant populations for characterization of genes that are involved in bioenergy quantitative traits. With the progress made on functional genomics of important bio-energy plants, more patents were filed with a significant number of them focusing on genes and DNA sequences which may involve in improvement of bio-energy traits including higher yield and quality of starch, sugar and oil. We also believe that these studies will lead to the generation of genetically altered plants with improved tolerance to various abiotic and biotic stresses.
Keywords: Bio-diesel, bio-energy, bio-ethanol, bio-mass, functional genomics, genome sequencing, mutagenesis, patents, mutagenesis, Functional Genomics, fossil, oil resources, carbohydrate metabolism, plant cell walls, world intellectual property, Botryococcus braunii, Functional Genomics, JATROPHA, Euphorbiaceae, abiotic tolerance