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The sugarcane networks

The search goes on for genes that can help raise the sugar content in sugarcane. The idea is to increase the productivity of bioethanol. A group led by biochemist Glaucia Souza of the University of São Paulo (USP) compared gene expression networks in the commercial variety and three ancestors of sugarcane (Plant Molecular Biology, May 2016). The study identified gene activity patterns that may be related to larger biomass and cell wall construction. The findings indicate that regulation of the functions of the genetic material may also be associated with the way in which the DNA is packaged inside the cell nucleus. “Our discoveries open the door to identification of the important biochemical pathways that can help produce new plant varieties or transgenics useful for making bioethanol and new materials for biorefineries,” Souza explains.