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Plant regeneration and genetic transformation in switchgrass — A review

Merrick, Paul, Fei, Shuizhang
Journal of integrative agriculture 2015 v.14 no.3 pp. 483-493
Panicum virgatum, biolistics, biomass production, culture media, diploidy, ethanol production, explants, genes, genetic improvement, genetic transformation, lignin, lignocellulose, octaploidy, plant growth substances, tetraploidy, North America
Switchgrass is native to the tallgrass prairie of North America. It is self-incompatible and has varied ploidy levels from diploid (2x) to dodecaploid (12x) with tetraploid and octoploid being the most common. The high yielding potential and the ability to grow well in marginal lands make switchgrass an ideal species as a dedicated biomass producer for lignocellulosic ethanol production. Genetic transformation is an important tool for studying gene function and for germplasm improvement in switchgrass, the genome of which has been sequenced recently. This paper intends to provide a comprehensive review on plant regeneration and genetic transformation in switchgrass. We first reviewed the effect of explants, basal medium and plant growth regulators on plant regeneration in switchgrass, which is a prerequisite for genetic transformation. We then reviewed the progresses on genetic transformation with either the biolistic or Agrobacterium-mediated method in switchgrass, and discussed various techniques employed to improve the transformation efficiency. Finally we reviewed the recent progresses on the use of genetic transformation in improving biomass quality such as the reduction of lignin, and in increasing biomass yield in switchgrass. We also provided a future perspective on the use of new genome editing technologies in switchgrass and its potential impact on regulatory processes.