The National Science Foundation has awarded a research grant to a Northern Illinois University biology professor for more than $900,000.
Associate Prof. Yanbin Yin says the research purposes the grant will fund are two-fold. The goal is to better understand how plant enzymes produce and break down carbohydrates and to develop a software to help scientists better analyze that kind of data.
“So knowing which genes include those carbohydrate-active enzymes will be very useful for their downstream manifest, like design better biofuel,” Yin said.
Yin says the research also would be helpful in plant-disease treatments and analyzing how land plants evolved from water plants. He says his research doesn’t specifically touch on genetic engineering, but he says the information they uncover may help with that type of research in the future.
“If you want to knock down a gene, you want to target a gene or genome, you better have the whole genome determined so that you can use different ways to decide what approach you want to take to specifically target that gene,” Yin said.
Yin says he applied for the grant in 2013.