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Crop Biotech Update

EMBRAPA Achieves First Transgenic Sugarcane

May 27, 2011

Brazil, the top producer of ethanol derived from sugarcane has developed its first transgenic sugarcane that contains the gene for drought tolerance. This was announced by the Chief Executive Officer of Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria-EMBRAPA, Peter Arraes in a press release.

The research on the introduction of drought tolerant gene DREB2A into sugarcane was started in 2008 by a group of researchers led by Hugo Bruno Correa Molinari of Agroenergia EMBRAPA in Brasilia. Through biolistic transformation method, transgenic sugarcane plants were developed and evaluated and selected in a greenhouse. The transgenic plants will be evaluated for their tolerance to drought by May 2012. Selection of the best performance both in the agronomic and desired characteristics will follow the evaluation process set by the National Technical Committee (CTNBio).

The researchers note that this is the first transgenic sugarcane developed and will open possibilities for the introduction of other traits into sugarcane beneficial to farmers, consumers and the industry.

See the press release in Portuguese at http://www.embrapa.br/imprensa/noticias/2011/maio/4a-semana/embrapa-obtem-primeiras-plantas-transgenicas-de-cana-de-acucar/