Platforms for Producing Biocontained High-value Products in Hybrid Seed Crops
Develop a suite of biotechnology tools to redirect the biosynthetic processes in seeds to enable large-scale production of seed-based biofuel feedstocks and other biomaterials for the industrial and pharmaceutical sectors while preventing the genetically modified traits from being transferred to other plants.
Sponsor: Caisson Laboratories, Inc.1740 Research Park Way
North Logan, UT 84341
Caisson Laboratories has proposed creating a suite of broadly applicable biotechnology tools to redirect the biosynthetic capacity of seeds for the large-scale production of seed-based biofuel feedstocks and other biomaterials for the industrial and pharmaceutical sectors; and prevent genetically modified traits from being transferred to other plants through pollen. The proposed tools will regulate the expression of certain plant genes while diverting large percentages of photoassimilate (the energy-storing sugars produced by photosynthesis) to the production in seeds of high-value natural or synthetic compounds. Three commercially valuable applications of this technology will be demonstrated by the end of the project: the alteration of plant metabolic pathways to substantially increase the production per acre of fermentable starch in harvested seeds of grain sorghum; the prevention of germination among second-generation (F2) plants such that inadvertently unharvested volunteer sorghum plants do not create a weed problem in subsequent seasons; and transgene biocontainment such that pollen-based gene flow among engineered sorghum plants and neighboring crops or weeds is prevented. Once the first two tools are available, their impact on the U.S. economy could be substantial; in fact, the value of the increase in the amount of ethanol produced is expected to exceed $2 billion at today's production levels and cost structure. As for transgene biocontainment, the technology may provide the basis for meeting future regulatory standards for valuable genetically modified traits in crops.