Navigation Links
Doubling a gene in corn results in giant biomass
Date:3/2/2009

University of Illinois plant geneticist Stephen Moose has developed a corn plant with enormous potential for biomass, literally. It yields corn that would make good silage, Moose said, due to a greater number of leaves and larger stalk, which could also make it a good energy crop.

The gene known as Glossy 15 was originally described for its role in giving corn seedlings a waxy coating that acts like a sun screen for the young plant. Without Glossy 15, seedling leaves instead appear shiny and glossy in sunlight. Further studies have shown that the main function of Glossy15 is to slow down shoot maturation. Moose wondered what would happen if they turned up the action of this gene. "What happens is that you get bigger plants, possibly because they're more sensitive to the longer days of summer. We put a corn gene back in the corn and increased its activity. So, it makes the plant slow down and gets much bigger at the end of the season."

The ears of corn have fewer seeds compared to the normal corn plant and could be a good feed for livestock. "Although there is less grain there is more sugar in the stalks, so we know the animal can eat it and they'll probably like it." This type of corn plant may fit the grass-fed beef standard, Moose said.

"The first time I did this, I thought, well, maybe the seeds just didn't get pollinated very well, so I hand pollinated these ears to make sure. I found that just like the shoot, seed development is also slower and they just don't make it all the way to the end with a plump kernel," Moose said.

He explained that the energy to make the seed goes instead into the stalk and leaves. "We had been working with this gene for awhile. We thought there would be more wax on the leaves and there was. But we also got this other benefit, that it's a lot bigger."

Moose tested his hypothesis with other corn lines and the effect was the same. "We essentially can make any corn variety bigger with this gene. And it can be done in one cross and we know exactly which gene does it."

He noted that if you put too much of the Glossy 15 gene in, it slows down the growth too much and the frost kills the plant before it can grow.

One advantage to growing sugar corn for biomass rather than switchgrass or miscanthus is that sugar corn is an annual. Moose said that if it would attract a pest or develop a disease, farmers could rotate a different crop the next year.

Moose said that sugar corn might make a good transition crop.

"We think it might take off as a livestock feed, because it's immediate," Moose said. "This would be most useful for on-farm feeding. So a farmer who has 50 steers, could grow this and use the corn as feed and sell the stalks and sugar. It could be an alternative silage, because it has a longer harvest window than regular silage."

For this sugar corn plant to become commercialized, it would have to get government approval, but Moose said that this is about as safe a gene as you can get. "It's a gene that's already in the corn all we did was to put an extra copy in that amps it up."


'/>"/>

Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Aware, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and 2008 Financial Results
2. Results of national nursery survey unveiled
3. Results of the third school nutrition dietary assessment study published
4. Entrust Announces Financial Results for Fourth-Quarter and Fiscal 2008
5. UH Manoa researchers release results of statewide survey of snail, slug invasions in Hawaii
6. bioMETRX, Inc. Highlights 3rd Quarter 2008 Financial Results
7. Orchid Cellmark Reports Third Quarter 2008 Financial Results
8. Positive results in Phase 2 trial of treatment of C-difficile-associated diarrhea
9. First results from hospital trials testing
10. Communication Intelligence Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2008 Financial Results
11. Synaptics Reports Record Results for First Quarter of Fiscal 2009
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. , June 23, 2017  IBM (NYSE: ... dairy research, today announced a new collaboration using next-generation ... chances that the global milk supply is impacted by ... Cornell University has become the newest academic institution to ... a food safety initiative that includes IBM Research, Mars, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... , April 24, 2017 ... and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 ... Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled with ... resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are suspended ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/23/2017)... ... August 23, 2017 , ... ... ability to manipulate 3D models of pediatric patients’ neuroanatomy and accurately tailor radiation ... of the Journal of Medical Imaging. The advance is reported in an article ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... Patients suffering from gum disease and failing implants now ... Malik. Dr. Malik, of Broward Center for Laser Periodontics and Implants , ... future of dentistry with regenerative periodontal procedures. , "I initially became ...
(Date:8/23/2017)... Virginia (PRWEB) , ... August 23, 2017 , ... NDA ... PhD, former Director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for ... industries, has joined the firm as an Expert Consultant. , Prior to his FDA ...
(Date:8/22/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... One ... is the practice of opioid-dose sparing. Opioid-dose sparing refers to the reduction of ... including with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). , The potential for new therapies to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: