A team of scientists led by Belgian molecular geneticist Wout Boerjan found that switching off a specific gene in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana caused the plant's lignin content to decline by 36% while quadrupling its cellulose yield when processed. If the technique works in other biofuel crops, it would drive down the cost of making cellulosic biofuel, the researchers said. Fine-tuning the process might make it possible to produce trees that are just as sturdy as unaltered varieties but are easier to process into biofuels, the researchers added.

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