Plant Biosystems Design Research Roadmap 1.0

Xiaohan Yang, June I. Medford, Kasey Markel, Patrick M. Shih, Henrique C. De Paoli, Cong T. Trinh, Alistair J. McCormick, Raphael Ployet, Steven G. Hussey, Alexander A. Myburg, Poul Erik Jensen, Md Mahmudul Hassan, Jin Zhang, Wellington Muchero, Udaya C. Kalluri, Hengfu Yin, Renying Zhuo, Paul E. Abraham, Jin Gui Chen, David J. WestonYinong Yang, Degao Liu, Yi Li, Jessy Labbe, Bing Yang, Jun Hyung Lee, Robert W. Cottingham, Stanton Martin, Mengzhu Lu, Timothy J. Tschaplinski, Guoliang Yuan, Haiwei Lu, Priya Ranjan, Julie C. Mitchell, Stan D. Wullschleger, Gerald A. Tuskan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Human life intimately depends on plants for food, biomaterials, health, energy, and a sustainable environment. Various plants have been genetically improved mostly through breeding, along with limited modification via genetic engineering, yet they are still not able to meet the ever-increasing needs, in terms of both quantity and quality, resulting from the rapid increase in world population and expected standards of living. A step change that may address these challenges would be to expand the potential of plants using biosystems design approaches. This represents a shift in plant science research from relatively simple trial-and-error approaches to innovative strategies based on predictive models of biological systems. Plant biosystems design seeks to accelerate plant genetic improvement using genome editing and genetic circuit engineering or create novel plant systems through de novo synthesis of plant genomes. From this perspective, we present a comprehensive roadmap of plant biosystems design covering theories, principles, and technical methods, along with potential applications in basic and applied plant biology research. We highlight current challenges, future opportunities, and research priorities, along with a framework for international collaboration, towards rapid advancement of this emerging interdisciplinary area of research. Finally, we discuss the importance of social responsibility in utilizing plant biosystems design and suggest strategies for improving public perception, trust, and acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8051764
JournalBioDesign Research
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to C.Y. Ralston and R. Evans (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA) for their suggestions to the manuscript. The writing of this manuscript was supported by the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program, the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the U.S. DOE BER Genomic Science Program, as part of the Secure Ecosystem Engineering and Design Scientific Focus Area and the Plant-Microbe Interfaces Scientific Focus Area. YY is supported by NSF Plant Genome Research Project Grant (1740874) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Hatch Appropriations under Project PEN04659 and Accession #1016432. HY is supported by Nonprofit Research Projects (CAFYBB2018ZY001-1) of Chinese Academy of Forestry. CTT acknowledges the financial support from the NSF CAREER award (NSF#1553250) and the DOE BER Genomic Science Program (DE-SC0019412). PMS acknowledges support from the Joint BioEnergy Institute which is supported by the U.S. DOE Office of Science, BER program under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy. DL acknowledges financial support through the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award Number 1833402. AJM acknowledges financial support from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (grants BB/M006468/1 and BB/S015531/1) and the Leverhulme Trust (grant RPG-2017-402).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 Xiaohan Yang et al.


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