Identification and stacking of crucial traits required for the domestication of pennycress

Ratan Chopra, Evan B. Johnson, Ryan Emenecker, Edgar B. Cahoon, Joe Lyons, Daniel J. Kliebenstein, Erin Daniels, Kevin M. Dorn, Maliheh Esfahanian, Nicole Folstad, Katherine Frels, Michaela McGinn, Matthew Ott, Cynthia Gallaher, Kayla Altendorf, Alexandra Berroyer, Baraem Ismail, James A. Anderson, Donald L. Wyse, Tim UlmasovJohn C. Sedbrook, M. David Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The oilseed species Thlaspi arvense (pennycress)—a weed that was only recently removed from the wild—has the potential to provide new sources of food and bioproducts when grown as a winter cover crop. Domestication of wild species has historically taken hundreds to thousands of years, but by making use of large-scale high-throughput comparative gene and phenotype analyses, along with recently developed technological tools, it has been possible to greatly accelerate this process. By taking advantage of extensive gene and phenotype knowledge in the related plant Arabidopsis, mutations for early maturity, reduced pod shatter, reduced seed glucosinolates and improved fatty acid composition were identified. Progress has been made to rapidly stack these traits in order to domesticate the plant, allowing it to fit within current crop cycles and to have improved seed harvestability and nutritional content. Pennycress, domesticated as a winter cover crop, may provide new sources of food, animal feed and bioproducts—and solutions to food security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalNature Food
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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