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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Crop Improvement and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #433064

Research Project: Expanding the Breeder's Toolbox for Perennial Grasses

Location: Crop Improvement and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2030-21220-002-03-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Aug 6, 2017
End Date: Aug 31, 2018

1. Develop a cenH3-based method for creating doubled haploid grasses like switchgrass. 2. Use the model perennial grass Brachypodium sylvaticum to identify combinations of transgenes that confer tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses. 3. Develop a gene containment system to minimize gene flow from transgenic switchgrass plants. 4. Create transgenic switchgrass plants containing the best combinations of transgenes identified in objective two (2) and the gene containment system from objective three (3). 5. Evaluate the best transgenic switchgrass plants from objective four (4) in field trials.

We will utilize a systems biology approach to develop new breeding tools for perennial grasses and apply those tools toward improving switchgrass. Specifically, we will employ two complementary approaches to overcome the difficulty of breeding a large, polyploid, self incompatible plant. The first approach will accelerate conventional breeding by developing a method to rapidly create doubled haploid lines to create fully homozygous lines for breeding. The second approach is to develop tools and reagents to accelerate the biotechnological improvement of switchgrass including: modules for improved stress tolerance, a test bed to evaluate transgenes in a perennial model grass and a robust gene containment system. This relates to objective 2 of the inhouse parent project, "Objective 2: Identify and demonstrate the utility of crop-derived gene expression control elements.(promoters/enhancers/terminators/insulators) that facilitate trait development in crop plants"