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Fine-Tuning Leaf Angle with CRISPR Improves Sugarcane Yield
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: June 21, 2024 12:02PM

Researchers from the University of Florida's Center for Advanced Bioenergy
and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) made genetic tweaks to sugarcane that led
to improved yield. The results of this breakthrough are reported in the
Plant Biotechnology Journal.

Sugarcane is the largest crop by biomass yield globally, providing 80% of
the world's sugar and 40% of the biofuel produced worldwide. The plant size
and water use efficiency of sugarcane make it one of the best candidates for
developing advanced, renewable, value-added bioproducts and biofuels.
However, sugarcane has a complex genome that makes it hard for breeders to
improve its traits using conventional methods. Thus, the research team used
gene editing tools to fine-tune the sugarcane genome, particularly the genes
involved in controlling the leaf angle. This trait is vital because it
determines how much light can be captured by the plant, which is critical
for biomass production.

Field trials of the edited sugarcanes showed that one sugarcane line showed
a 56% reduction in leaf inclination angle, leading to an 18% boost in dry
biomass yield. This modification achieved biomass improvement without the
need to add more fertilizers to the fields.


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