Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Plant Sciences

Major Professor

C. Neal Stewart

Committee Members

Robert Trigiano, Z. M. Cheng

Abstract

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a summer perennial grass native to North America, is currently being explored for its potential use in the production of biofuels. With these interests, genetic manipulation of switchgrass to produce plants that are easier to digest, have an increased resistance to diseases and stresses, and maintain viability longer in the field are required. Therefore, it was necessary to develop a reliable and efficient tissue culture system for the transformation of switchgrass. Current switchgrass tissue culture requires months for regeneration of transformants with relatively poor transformation efficiencies and are limited to derivatives of a single variety, Alamo. We have developed a tissue culture system, utilizing a novel media, LP9, which has demonstrated decreased time to the production of whole transgenic plants and with an increased efficiency. LP9 is not an MSO-based tissue culture system. It is comprised of both N6 macroelements and B5 microelements with the auxin, 2,4-D and does not include any cytokinin. After just 1 month on LP9 media, callus can be selected and used for Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation or particle bombardment, and plants can be regenerated within 3 weeks of callus initiation. Our system is unique to previously explored MSO-based systems in that it is optimized for the production of type II callus, which has been shown to produce higher transformation efficiencies in other monocots. We have increased the transformation efficiency of switchgrass from to up to 4% to 34% efficiency by selecting for this type of callus.

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