Biotech Updates

Male Sterility Induction in GM Chrysanthemums Using Ethylene Receptor Gene

February 11, 2011

Chrysanthemum is one of the world's most popular ornamental flowers and genetic engineering has been used to improve its traits. Ethylene receptor genes have been used in other plants to improve flower longevity and fruit ripening traits. Melon with mutated ethylene receptor genes (CmETR/H69A) exhibited lower pollen grains and delayed degradation of a male reproductive part. Harue Shinoyama of Fukui Agricultural Experiment Station, Japan, together with other scientists, inserted the CmETR/H69A into chrysanthemum (Yamate shiro cultivar) through Agrobacterium tumifaciens-mediated transformation to induce male sterility and prevent flow of trangenes through the pollen grains.

The transformation was confirmed using Southern blot analysis. Out of the 335 GM lines, 15 lines have significant reduction in amount of pollen grains, specially lines no. 91, 191, and 324. In these three lines, pollen grains were absent under temperatures 20 and 35oC, present at 10 and 15oC, and matured at 15oC. Female sterility was also observed to be lower in GM than in non-GM lines. Therefore, the gene confers male and female sterility in chrysanthemum, but temperature during growth is a significant factor that may affect its effect.

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