Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop New Approach to Genetic Modification of Maize and Other Grains

September 14, 2016

Despite years of research efforts, it has been remarkably difficult to develop efficient methods for transformation (i.e., genetic modification) of grain crops. The most preferred method generally involves Agrobacterium tumefaciens, however, the bacterium infects only a narrow range of grain cultivars, and many cultivars are recalcitrant to regeneration.

A new research, conducted by Dupont and published in The Plant Cell, reports a breakthrough in transformation technology that greatly expands the range of cultivars and species that can be transformed. The DuPont team added so-called morphogenic genes, known to promote embryonic tissue production, to the other genes being transformed (in this case to express green fluorescent protein as a marker of transformation). The team observed that when they did this, transformation rates increased for a large number of maize cultivars. The new technique also worked in sorghum, rice, and sugarcane.

For more details, read the article at ASPB Plant Science Today.