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Sugarcane transformation facility and production of transgenic varieties resistant to glyphosate herbicide and insects pests


Transgenic plant is a reality that has been causing great impacts on agricultural productivity. Brazil is the world's second largest market for transgenic plants, employing mainly technology developed outside the country. In sugar cane, the application of these technologies is well behind, even though there are a large number of Research Institutes in Brazil focused on this culture. One of the biggest bottlenecks on these studies is genetic transformation, which requires accurate techniques of plant tissue culture and genetic engineering. It is imperative to obtain reliable results that a satisfactory number of independent transgenic events are employed. The response (phenotype) arising from the integration and expression of a single gene into a complete genome can be very subtle, so that it is highly desirable that the events are homogeneous and of quality. The purpose of the PIPE Phase 1 project was to start a company that would execute the entire plant tissue culture and genetic transformation service for customers following the successful North American Plant Transformation Facility concept: the client delivers their genes of interest and the company produces the transgenic events. This type of service facility does not exist in Brazil. In order to fulfil the purpose of the project, a new technique in genetic transformation of sugarcane was developed. Experiments carried out in phase I strongly indicate that this innovation is capable of producing transgenic cane with similar or superior efficiency when compared to techniques already patented by other companies. To suppress the plant cell death/ necrosis caused by the agrobacterium during the 3 days of infection and co-cultivation, a key point of the process, call were protected from direct contact with the culture medium using stainless steel meshes. From the invention developed in phase 1, we propose the following objectives for phase 2 of the PIPE project: 1) To operate as a Sugarcane Plant Transformation Facility in Brazil and, 2) To produce commercial transgenic events of sugar cane resistant to the herbicide glyphosate and insect pests. The impact of the Plant Transformation Facility service of this project is of extreme importance for the genetic breeding of sugarcane in Brazil. It will be possible to provide a great time reduction in the production of transgenic plants, a significant decrease in cost, and especially the production of events with extreme vigor and homogeneity. This set of factors will certainly provide great improvements and leverage sugar cane research in Brazil. It is important to highlight the potential impact on the sugar cane field production sector with the cultivation of transgenic sugarcane resistant to herbicides and insect pests. This development is lagging behind when compared to soybean, corn and cotton crops, in which GM plants accounted for 93.4% of the 2016/2017 harvest ( -biotechnology-agricultural-in-brazil-harvest-201617). The mostly relevant commercial genotypes in the market will be used, already licensed to their holders within the Embrapii / Embrapa Agroenergia / RIDESA and Pangeia Biotech project. The projected royalties from 2023 presented in this project point to a high source of revenue. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Nueva caña transgénica 
Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Startup creates transgenic sugarcane with enhanced pest resistance 
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