Monday, November 9, 2015

Gene insertion into crop plants

The rapid advances in molecular genetics since the 1980s have substantially enhanced human understanding of the genetic composition of crop plants with complete genome sequences now being available from several crop and model species.

Techniques for inserting genes into crop species (transformation) and achieving stable gene expression without negative effects on the plant are an essential first step for modifying crops.

Existing methods for inserting genes into crops are labor intensive and limited to a few crop species and a small number of cultivars within those crops.

Several procedures are used for incorporating DNA into plant cells. One procedure propels the DNA attached to small gold pellets into meristematic regions, the actively growing and differentiating regions of the plant.

Another method uses the bacteria that cause crown gall tumors, Agrobacterium tumefasciens, to carry desired DNA into cells when they infect a plant.

Scientist in developing countries will be able to apply improved gene-insertion techniques to crops of interest to smallholder farmers and develop traits that affect human nutrition.

Genetic engineering approaches have already led to the successful insertion of a number of genes into crop plants including those conferring herbicide resistance and insect resistance.
Gene insertion into crop plants

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