The present invention provides an expression cassette comprising a polynucleotide that encodes a protein that diverts a monolignol precursor from a lignin biosynthesis pathway in the plant, which is operably linked to a heterologous promoter. Also provided are methods of engineering a plant having reduced lignin content, as well as plant cells, plant parts, and plant tissues from such engineered plants.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.