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When plants 'think' alike
Date:5/27/2008

ity with a resource unlike any other, as it will allow them to discover the genetic underpinnings of the evolutionary innovations that allowed plants to thrive on land, including lignin," said Banks.

Chapple and his colleagues conducted the recent study as part of a broader effort to understand the genetics behind lignin specifically, as the material is an impediment to some biofuel production methods because of its durability and tight integration into plant structures.

"Findings from studies such as this really have implications regarding the potential for designing plants to better make use of cellulose in cell walls," said Gerald Berkowitz, a program director for the Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster at the National Science Foundation and the program officer overseeing Chapple's grant. "Different forms of lignin are present in crop plant cell walls; engineering plants to express specifically syringyl lignin could allow for easier break down of cellulose. Overcoming this obstacle is an important next step for advancing second generation biofuel production."


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Contact: Josh Chamot
jchamot@nsf.gov
703-292-7730
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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