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Keywords:

  • switchgrass;
  • DNA vector;
  • transformation;
  • Agrobacterium;
  • bombardment;
  • bioenergy;
  • monocot

Summary

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a C4 perennial grass and has been identified as a potential bioenergy crop for cellulosic ethanol because of its rapid growth rate, nutrient use efficiency and widespread distribution throughout North America. The improvement of bioenergy feedstocks is needed to make cellulosic ethanol economically feasible, and genetic engineering of switchgrass is a promising approach towards this goal. A crucial component of creating transgenic switchgrass is having the capability of transforming the explants with DNA sequences of interest using vector constructs. However, there are limited options with the monocot plant vectors currently available. With this in mind, a versatile set of Gateway-compatible destination vectors (termed pANIC) was constructed to be used in monocot plants for transgenic crop improvement. The pANIC vectors can be used for transgene overexpression or RNAi-mediated gene suppression. The pANIC vector set includes vectors that can be utilized for particle bombardment or Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. All the vectors contain (i) a Gateway cassette for overexpression or silencing of the target sequence, (ii) a plant selection cassette and (iii) a visual reporter cassette. The pANIC vector set was functionally validated in switchgrass and rice and allows for high-throughput screening of sequences of interest in other monocot species as well.