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Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Scientists Evaluate Performance of Plant Gene as a Selectable Marker for Rice Transformation

May 18, 2016

The gene E. coli phosphomannose isomerase (EcPMI) is extensively used as a selectable marker gene in mannose (Man) selection-based plant transformation. In a study published in Nature Scientific Reports, PMI genes from microalgae Chlorella and rice were isolated to examine if these can be used as selectable markers.

The researchers from Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Anhui Agricultural University in China evaluated the isoenzymatic activities of PMI from Chlorella and rice in vitro and compared them with the performance of EcPMI. The active PMIs were separately constructed into binary vectors as selectable marker genes and then transformed into rice using Agrobacterium. Positive results were found in Indica and Japonica rice subspecies, wherein the plant PMIs performed similarly with EcPMI. Furthermore, a gene of interest was successfully transformed into rice using plant PMIs as selectable marker genes. Based on the results, PMIs encoding active enzymes might be common in plants and could potentially be used as suitable genetic elements in cisgenesis engineering.

Read the open-access article in Nature Scientific Reports.