Gene Editing Technologies for Sugarcane Improvement: Opportunities and Limitations

Sugar Tech. 2021 Oct 15:1-17. doi: 10.1007/s12355-021-01045-8. Online ahead of print.


Plant-based biofuels present a promising alternative to depleting non-renewable fuel resources. One of the benefits of biofuel is reduced environmental impact, including reduction in greenhouse gas emission which causes climate change. Sugarcane is one of the most important bioenergy crops. Sugarcane juice is used to produce table sugar and first-generation biofuel (e.g., bioethanol). Sugarcane bagasse is also a potential material for second-generation cellulosic biofuel production. Researchers worldwide are striving to improve sugarcane biomass yield and quality by a variety of means including biotechnological tools. This paper reviews the use of sugarcane as a feedstock for biofuel production, and gene manipulation tools and approaches, including RNAi and genome-editing tools, such as TALENs and CRISPR-Cas9, for improving its quality. The specific focus here is on CRISPR system because it is low cost, simple in design and versatile compared to other genome-editing tools. The advance of CRISPR-Cas9 technology has transformed plant research with its ability to precisely delete, insert or replace genes in recent years. Lignin is the primary material responsible for biomass recalcitrance in biofuel production. The use of genome editing technology to modify lignin composition and distribution in sugarcane cell wall has been realized. The current and potential applications of genome editing technology for sugarcane improvement are discussed. The advantages and limitations of utilizing RNAi and TALEN techniques in sugarcane improvement are discussed as well.

PMID:34667393 | PMC:PMC8517945 | DOI:10.1007/s12355-021-01045-8


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