Genetically Modified Plants for Increased Cell Wall Biomass


Executive Summary


Plant secondary cell walls are the bulk of plant biomass in woody plants. They are necessary for plant growth and are important for numerous industries, including pulp and paper, timber, and biomass feedstocks. Regulating secondary cell wall synthesis in trees and other plants could speed up biomass production for these industries.


Description of Technology


This technology is a genetically modified form of MYB46 that allows the gene to remain constitutively active, even in the presence of stresses (drought, etc.) that normally deactivate MYB46. Degradation of the MYB46 transcription factor is blocked, without altering activity. This allows for secondary wall synthesis even when the plant is stressed by disease, drought, or salt, among other conditions. The alteration to MYB46 may be introduced by CRISPR/CAS9 or other gene editing processes.


Key Benefits

  • Faster Plant Biomass Production The technology allows a high rate of secondary cell wall deposition even during times of stress
  • Possible in a wide variety of organisms The same regulatory factor is present in all plant species, which means this technology should work in poplar, grasses, and similar crops.



  • Timber Production
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Feedstock Biomass
  • Forage biomass


Patent Status: 


Provisional Patent Filed


Licensing Rights Available


Full Licensing Rights Available




Kyung-Hwan Han, Jong Hee Im


Tech ID:




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University