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Gene editing in grasses and heterologous expression of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) genes using viral vectors to increase plant biomass production

Grant number: 22/05041-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Crop Science
Principal Investigator:Elisson Antonio da Costa Romanel
Grantee:Elisson Antonio da Costa Romanel
Host Investigator: Steven Alan Whitham
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil
Research place: Iowa State University, United States  


Sugarcane and energy cane (Saccharum spp.) are considered the most efficient C4 metabolism grasses for the production of plant biomass. The gene regulatory network (GRN) involved in the production of biomass related to the vegetative transition phase and flowering time comprises a set of six pathways characterized in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetic studies in grasses show that orthologous genes do not necessarily regulate and function in the same way among monocots, demonstrating the need to identify target genes and their functional characterization for understanding the phenomenon and future biotechnological applications. However, the subsequent functional characterization of several genes in grasses or even in sugarcane through the method of stable genetic transformation is costly and time-consuming. For these reasons, the present proposal aims to perform, in an interdisciplinary way, the gene editing in grasses and the heterologous expression of sugarcane genes involved in the production of plant biomass through collaboration with the research group of PhD Steven Whitham (Iowa State University) who modified viral RNAs for virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS), virus mediated overexpression (VOX), and virus-enabled gene editing (VEdGE) in grasses, allowing the functional characterization of several genes of transient, fast, and low cost. (AU)

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