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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Transgenic Biofuel Feedstocks and Strategies for Biocontainment

item Kausch, Albert
item Hague, Joel
item Oliver, Melvin - Mel
item Yi, Li
item Daniell, Henry
item Mascia, Peter
item Watrud, Lidia
item Stewart, Neal

Submitted to: Biofuels
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2009
Publication Date: 1/1/2010
Citation: Kausch, A.P., Hague, J., Oliver, M.J., Yi, L., Daniell, H., Mascia, P., Watrud, L.S., Stewart, N. 2010. Transgenic Biofuel Feedstocks and Strategies for Biocontainment. Biofuels. 1(1):163-176.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: There are several reasons to believe that transgenic plant feedstocks will be required to realize the full economic and environmental benefits of cellulosic and other biofuels. Much of the commercialization potential for the use of transgenic plant cellulosic feedstocks may be impacted by regulations for cleaner air and water as well as technical and economic hurdles. Traits that are targets for improvement in food and biofuels crops include herbicide-resistance, pest-, drought-, cold- and salt-tolerance, nutrient use efficiency; in cellulosic feedstocks, altered cell wall composition for increased biomass yield and improved processing and end use characteristics are also of interest. Biotechnology and genomics tools for several cellulosic feedstocks such as switchgrass and poplar are increasingly available, but there currently is no regulatory experience with any dedicated feedstocks. Gene flow seems to be an ongoing regulatory concern as we will illustrate with research centered on a case study of herbicide-resistant creeping bentgrass, in which viable pollen from the transgenic grass was dispersed as far as 21 km. Biocontainment of transgenes within cultivated fields would thus seem to be an obvious regulatory and biosafety objective that would be desirable prior to extensive releases and commercialization of transgenic bioenergy feedstocks. In this paper we thus review biocontainment strategies targeting pollen or seeds. These include male sterility, localization of transgenes on chloroplasts, removal of trangenes in pollen and seeds, and gene use restriction technologies.

Last Modified: 09/19/2017
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