Biotech Updates

Anthocyanin Production Used as Selection Marker During Plant Transformation

February 25, 2011

Selectable markers are reporter genes introduced to cells to confirm the success of genetic transformation. Antibiotic resistance genes, such as those that confer kanamycin resistance, are often used as selectable markers in plants and bacteria. A.J. Kortstee, together with other scientists at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, used the production of pigment anthocyanin as selectable marker. The researchers believe that anthocyanin is a better alternative because it is visible to the naked eye, non-toxic, and has health benefits such as anti-cancer. They introduced a mutant gene (MYB10) from apple into strawberry, potato and apple.

Regenerated shoots were harvested from explants and examined for the presence of MYB10 through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. Both red and green shoots from apple contained MYB10. Strawberry plants exhibited anthocyanin buildup in the leaves and roots, unlike in potato, where there was absence of visible anthocyanin production. However, analysis showed that the potato shoots and roots contained four times higher anthocyanin levels than the control plants that do not contain MYB10. Therefore, anthocyanin production with the use of MYB10 gene can be used as a selectable marker in genetic engineering of apple, strawberry, and potato, in replacement of kanamycin resistance.

Read the abstract of this study at