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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Genetically Modifying Lignin Concentration Affects Winter Survival of Perennial Herbaceous Plants

Authors
item Casler, Michael - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
item Buxton, Dwayne
item Vogel, Kenneth

Submitted to: Theoretical and Applied Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2001
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Citation: Casler, M.D., Buxton, D.R., Vogel, K.P. 2002. Genetically modifying lignin concentration affects winter survival of perennial herbaceous plants. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theor. Appl. Genet. 104:127-131.

Interpretive Summary: Populations of four perennial herbaceous species that were genetically modified for altered lignin content (or associated forage digestibility) by conventional plant breeding were evaluated for agricultural fitness in three Midwest USA environments for over four years. Reduced lignin concentration or increased digestibility resulted in increased winter mortality in three of four species. Selection for survival in one species appeared to break this apparent genetic correlation, suggesting that it is not mechanistic. Results indicate that perennial plants genetically engineered with altered lignin concentration or composition for use in livestock, pulp and paper, or bioenergy production should be evaluated for fitness prior to use in agriculture.

Technical Abstract: Populations of four perennial herbaceous species that were genetically modified for altered lignin content (or associated forage digestibility) by conventional plant breeding were evaluated for agricultural fitness in three Midwest USA environments for over four years. Reduced lignin concentration or increased digestibility resulted in increased winter mortality in three of four species. Selection for survival in one species appeared to break this apparent genetic correlation, suggesting that it is not mechanistic. Results indicate that perennial plants genetically engineered with altered lignin concentration or composition for use in livestock, pulp and paper, or bioenergy production should be evaluated for fitness prior to use in agriculture.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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