Date of Award


Document Type




Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Hong Luo


The integration of the human fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene into turfgrass is a novel approach at improving cell proliferation and abiotic stress resistance. The FTO protein is an RNA demethylase responsible for epigenetic regulation of the genome. In related rice, the gene is associated with increased crop yield, tiller number, and aerial biomass. It is proposed to work via demethylation of repeat RNA associated with chromatin remodeling, causing widespread transcriptional activation. In this study, the feasibility of using FTO for plant trait modification in perennial grasses is being investigated. Potentially transformed embryogenic calli of creeping bentgrass with FTO gene have been developed and are awaiting regeneration into plants, which can be assessed for FTO gene expression as well as abiotic stress resistance. Responsible application of transgenic FTO turfgrass is also being explored via a novel sterility mechanism that involves knockout of the gene responsible for flowering.