CABBI Team Achieves First Precision Gene Editing in Miscanthus; Results Should Accelerate Efforts to Tap Huge Bioenergy Potential of This Highly Productive, But Genetically Complex Perennial Grass

For the first time, researchers have successfully demonstrated precision gene editing in miscanthus, a promising perennial crop for sustainable bioenergy production. A team at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a Bioenergy Research Center (BRC) funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, edited the genomes of three miscanthus species using CRISPR/Cas9--a far more targeted and efficient way to develop new varieties than prior methods. The results will accelerate efforts to tap the huge potential of this highly productive, but genetically complex grass as a source for biofuels, renewable bioproducts, and carbon sequestration. The study, published on December 28, 2022 in Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts, was led by three CABBI miscanthus researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama — Faculty Investigator Kankshita Swaminathan, PhD, Research Associate Anthony Trieu and former Postdoctoral Researcher Mohammad Belaffif, PhD--and Nancy Reichert, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences at Mississippi State University. The open-access article is titled “Transformation and Gene Editing in the Bioenergy Grass Miscanthus.”

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