WIU Researcher Aims to Improve Pennycress Through Gene Editing


Win Phippen of Western Illinois University's Agriculture Department, have recently received a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy to advance research on pennycress, which has potential as a biodiesel feedstock.

Pennycress is a winter annual and can be planted in fall, overwinter and be harvested in the spring, with soybean crop planted behind it. However, pennycress' seed shattering is a primary issue. Phippen proposed that pennycress could be improved through gene editing.

Phippen said that pennycress could be light years ahead of corn and soybeans in terms of breeding because it is closely related to Arabidopsis, a model plant for the gene editing technique CRISPR-cas9. Applying CRISPR to pennycress enables optimization of its characters to be more suitable for biodiesel production.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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