Coordinator: Helaine Carrer


Sugarcane transgenics are particularly obligatory for traits that are intractable to breeding, specially those requiring exogenous genes or temporal expression or suppression of endogenous genes. Increase of sucrose content in sugarcane is a main point to be addressed, and is directly dependent of increasing photosynthetic efficiency. The present proposal aims to develop efficient methods of sugarcane in vitro culture as well as methods of nuclear and chloroplast transformation, applying them to modify photosynthetic genes and to incorporate new photosynthetic traits in productive Brazilian germplasm. This proposal counts also with the expertise of national and abroad scientific groups joined as collaborators. Genes related to photosynthesis will be searched in the SUCEST database and they will be main targets for transformation in conjunction with already well known photosynthetic genes. The sugarcane photosynthetic efficiency is expected to be improved upon manipulation of those photosynthetic genes, generating novel knowledge as well as leading to increased synthesis of triose phosphates and, ultimately, increased sucrose content in the transgenic varieties. In addition, this transgenic sugarcane research will be integrated to the other BIOEN sub-projects and, therefore, it will encompass genes associated to photosynthesis and cell wall biosynthesis regarding high [CO2] integrated with high temperature and drought. The transformation sugarcane transformation will be based on the development and optimization of in vitro cultures and nuclear genetic transformation via Agrobacterium tumefaciens and biolistic methods, as well as gene transfer to plastids via biolistic. It is expected that the transgenic plants will generate novel knowledge in the sugarcane genetics, biochemistry and physiology and, furthermore, it is anticipated to accomplish significant improvement in specific agronomic and commercial traits, within short time and at reduced cost.