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GM Crops. 2010 May-Jun;1(3):137-42. doi: 10.4161/gmcr.1.3.12615.

Genetically modified crops for biomass increase. Genes and strategies.

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Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Plantas, Instituto de Bioquímica Médica, CCS, Cidade Universitária - Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


Genetically modified crops (GMCs) have been developed to accelerate the creation of new varieties with improved characteristics such as disease resistance, stress tolerance and higher quality composition. However, agriculture, without minimizing its role in food, feed and fiber source, has become important for the energy matrix of many countries. GMCs are also attractive systems that could fulfill the requirements for these new necessities. An increase of crop yields in an environmental friendly system is a new goal for plant biology research in the twenty-first century. In particular, biomass yield improvement is needed to render the use of biofuels economically feasible. In this context, research directed toward increasing biomass production has attracted much attention and a considerable effort is being made to reach new goals. Nonetheless, in some cases differentiated strategies are needed, as biomass improvement requires approaches other than those employed with traditional crops. This review summarizes the various approaches applied so far to modulate plant growth applying molecular biology-based strategies and increase biomass production, and it highlights several outstanding issues about the developmental constraints that must be addressed.

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