The invention provides methods for increasing lignin content in plants by expression of a cinnamoyl CoA reductase 2 (CCR2) coding sequence in the plant. Also provided are methods for reducing lignin content in a plant by down-regulation of CCR2 expression in the plant. Nucleic acid molecules for modulation of CCR2 expression and transgenic plants the same are also provided. Plants described herein may be used, for example, as improved biofuel feedstock and as highly digestible forage crops. Methods for processing plant tissue and for producing biofuels by utilizing such plants are also provided.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST
 This invention was made with Government support under DE-FG02-06ER64303 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.