Biotech Updates

Scientists Develop HT Tall Fescue Using Mutated ALS Gene from Rice

January 9, 2013

Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is a perennial grass widely used as forage and also as turf for lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and roadsides. Because of its economical importance, several transformation systems are being developed for its improvement. Hikoro Sato of NARO Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan, together with other scientists developed transgenic tall fescue using the acetalactate synthase gene from rice with single point mutation [OsALS (sm)] that can confer resistance to pyriminobac (PM) herbicide. They used the gene as selectable marker and evaluated its herbicide tolerance. They selected the calli by incubation with the herbicide.

All regenerated plants produced had OsALS (sm) gene. The transgenic plants were sprayed with PM herbicide and remained unaffected while the growth of wild-type plants was stopped and eventually led to death. Further analyses confirmed the production of OsALS (sm) protein which conferred tolerance to PM.

Sato and colleagues also crossed one of the transgenic plants with a cytoplasmic male-sterile plant which led to male-sterile F1 plants, preventing the flow of transgenic pollen into the environment. Thus, OsALS (sm) gene was not only an effective selectable marker but also helpful in developing herbicide tolerant plants.

Read the abstract at