Development of Environmentally Safe Transgenic Turfgrass with Improved Traits

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

HybriGene, Inc.
530 Liberty Lane
West Kingston, RI 02892
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Trait improvement of turfgrass through genetic engineering is important to the turfgrass industry and the environment. However, the possibility of transgene escape to wild and non-transformed species raises commercial and ecological concerns. The purpose of this project is to determine the usefulness of genetically engineered male sterility in turfgrass for producing stable, environmentally safe transgenic perennials with enhanced agronomic performance. We have generated male-sterile, herbicide-resistant transgenic creeping bentgrass and demonstrated that transgenes are inherited by and co-segregate in the T1 progeny. We have also demonstrated, under greenhouse conditions, that the male sterility engineered in the transgenic plants is complete and effective in preventing gene flow. In this project, we will evaluate the inheritance of both male sterility and the herbicide resistance by the T2 progeny, and carry out field trail studies using T2 plants to test whether male sterility will provide effective control of transgene escape compared to open pollination and the use of spatial and temporal management systems to minimize gene flow in transgenic turfgrasses.