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Ethanol yields up 80% from GM poplars

Bio-ethanol yields from genetically modified poplars with reduced lignin content are over 80% more than those from conventional trees. The data comes from GM lines being trialled by the Belgian research institute, the VIB (Ghent). The trees’ lignin content was reduced by partially suppressing expression of a gene, cinnamoyl CoA reductase (CCR) involved in the lignin biosynthetic pathway. The trees were planted in 2009 and harvested in 2010. The yield of bio-ethanol per gramme of dry wood from the transgenic trees was up to 81% higher than for trees with unmodified lignin, says VIB researcher Wout Boerjan.

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