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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Developing and Deploying New Tools for Crop Plant Biotechnology

Location: Crop Improvement & Utilization Research

Project Number: 5325-21000-020-03
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 27, 2011
End Date: Aug 31, 2015

Objective:
The immediate objectives of this cooperative research project are to test and deploy novel promoter and site-specific recombination systems into crop plants. The ultimate goal is to make genetic engineering more precise, more useful in improving crop traits, and more likely to find applications in plant production. This first phases of the research will focus on establishing a recombination platform in soybean and citrus that will allow precise site-specific insertion of gene sequences into the genome and deletion of unneeded sequences such as marker genes after genetic transformation. The second phase of the research will test promoter function in citrus.

Approach:
The proposed research will develop the platforms needed to use two novel pairs of unidirectional recombinase enzymes, namely Bxb 1 and ParA, for performing precise genetic engineering of crops. These recombinases can perform controlled DNA integration into or excision from plant chromosomes based on the presence and orientation of specific recognition target sites. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation will be used to generate multiple candidate founder transgenic lines in which the recombination platforms can be tested and shown to function for generating transgenic plants with valuable new traits and lacking superfluous foreign DNA. Camelina, a bioenergy crop, will be used as a test system for the recombination platform because its transformation system is quicker. Then the recombination platform will be introduced into soybean and citrus. In addition, to improve the healthfulness of citrus fruit, citrus genes encoding enzymes necessary for anthocyanin and lycopene production will be isolated and expressed using promoters that are shown to be fruit-specific.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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