Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Crop Improvement and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #433694

Research Project: Development of a Transgene Biocontainment System for Switchgrass

Location: Crop Improvement and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2030-21220-002-005-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2017
End Date: Aug 31, 2022

The objective of this proposal is to develop a complete transgene biocontainment system for switchgrass (hybrid switchgrass that is completely sterile).

Using a genetic engineering approach, a two-component strategy involving two types of transgenic switchgrass plant lines will be developed. Crossing of these fertile transgenic lines will generate hybrid progeny that lack all reproductive/floral development in otherwise vegetatively normal plants. Implementation of this novel two-component system will utilize tissue-specific promoters to control floral-specific expression of the cytotoxic gene barnase. The ablation cassette is maintained in an inactive stae in the original transgenic plants due to the presence of an expression-terminating ‘stuffer’ fragment. Expression is activated in the F1 hybrid plants via Cre recombinase-mediated removal of the lox-flanked stuffer. Multiple independent transgenic lines containing various constructs and their F1 hybrids will be characterized to identify the combinations that provide the most effective transgene biocontainment system.