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Meridian Institute

Genetics to Boost Sugarcane Production

Summary posted by Meridian on 4/20/2017

Source: SciDev.net (20 Apr 2017)

Author(s): n/a

Scientists in Brazil are looking to genetic modification to develop a sugarcane that produces more sucrose, with the hope of also boosting the productivity and economic benefits of the crop. Currently, producers raise sucrose levels in sugarcane by applying artificial growth regulators or chemical ripeners. One such growth regulator, ethephon, contains ethylene, a ripening hormone in plants. "Although we knew ethylene helps increase the amount of sugar in the cane, it was not clear how the synthesis and action of this hormone affected the maturation of the plant," said Marcelo Menossi, a professor at the University of Campinas (Unicamp) and coordinator of the project. In order to better understand how ethylene works on sugarcane, the scientists sprayed both ethephon and an ethylene inhibitor on sugarcane before it began to mature. The team was able to identify which genes respond to the action of ethylene during the ripening of the sugarcane, as well as the genes involved in regulating sucrose metabolism. "Knowing which genes or ripeners make it possible for the plant to increase the accumulation of sucrose will allow us to make genetic improvements in sugarcane and develop varieties that over-express these genes, without the need to apply ethylene, for example," explained Menossi.

The original article may still be available at http://www.scidev.net/global/agriculture/news/genetics-boost-sugarcane-production.html

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