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Strengthening Bioenergy Feedstock Plants by Overexpression of Three Rice Genes




Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a glycosyltransferase encoded by closely related rice genes that is involved in xylan biosynthesis in the cell wall. When the genes are overexpressed, xylosyltransferase activity and stem strength are increased beyond that of wild type plants.

Increasing plant stem strength can increase plant size and prevent crop loss caused by stem breakage due to environmental factors or pathogens. This development can lead to more cost effective growth of feedstocks for biofuel production, among other applications.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE:  Demonstrated in Arabidopsis plants, resulting in stems with over twice the xylosyltransferase activity and over 120% the stem strength of wild type plants.

STATUS: Available for licensing or collaborative research.

Chiniquy, D., Varanasi, P., Oh, T., Harholt, J., Katnelson, J., Singh, S., Auer, M., Simmons, B., Adams, P.D., Scheller, H.V., Ronald, P.C. “Three novel rice genes closely related to the Arabidopsis IRX9, IRX9L, IRX14 genes and their roles in xylan biosynthesis,” Frontiers in Plant Science, Volume 4, Article 83, April 2013.


The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels.


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Last updated: 06/14/2013