Miscanthus is a genus of C4 perennial East Asian grasses that is emerging as a leading bioenergy crop. Clark et al. collected germplasm of M. sacchariflorus and M. sinensis in the Russian Far East, at the northern extent of the range of these two species.
Geographic distributions suggest greater winter hardiness in M. sacchariflorus than in M. sinensis. Accessions were genotyped using restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) and a preliminary genome-wide association (GWA) analysis was performed to identify biomass traits in M. sacchariflorus. The data highlights the value of phenotypic data obtained in situ during germplasm collection and will have implications for breeding Miscanthus and sugarcane cultivars with improved adaptation to cold. The authors propose a strategy to facilitate the rapid utilisation of new germplasm collections by implementing low-cost SNP genotyping to conduct GWA analysis of phenotypic data obtained at collection sites, with the aim of providing plant breeders with actionable information on desirable traits and alleles found in accessions.