Thursday, September 6, 2012
Plant scientists keep switchgrass forever young to make fuel
They can't do it in people, but scientists think they can keep switchgrass "forever young" by inserting a new gene, thus making it more useful in creating biofuel. Geneticists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture did the work at the USDA's Plant Gene Expression Center in Albany. Sarah Hake, who runs the lab, and UC Berkeley's George Chuck inserted a new maize gene, called "Corngrass1" or Cg1, into Panicum virgatum, or switchgrass, thus keeping it in a "juvenile" state without flowers or seeds.