Biotech Updates

Scientists Develop Blight-resistant Potato using Ensifer-mediated Transformation

September 23, 2011

Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) has been the most widely used technique in genetically engineering important traits in crops. However, the complexity of the Agrobacterium patent landscape limits non-patent holders who aim to develop new varieties for commercial purpose. In a previous study, TransbacterTM strains were used to facilitate horizontal gene transfer. However, the strains were 10-fold less efficient than the standard ATMT. Thus, Toni Wendt of the Crops Research Centre, Ireland, and colleagues searched for alternative bacteria that could use vir genes for genetic transformation and could be a substitute for ATMT with similar transformation protocols.

They investigated 751 plant-associated bacteria collected from the rhizosphere of commercially available crops. A strain of Ensifer adhaerens (OV14) was identified which could transform both Arabidopsis and potato. Furthermore, they used the strain to develop blight-resistant potato. Molecular analysis and resistant phenotype confirmed the transformation. Therefore, Ensifer-mediated transformation could be used in developing transgenic potato crops.

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