,DNAis bound to tiny particles of gold ortungsten which are subsequently "shot" into plant tissue or single plantcells under high pressure. The accelerated particles penetrate both thecell wallandmembranes.The DNA separates from the metal and is
integrated into the plantgenomeinside thenucleus.This method has
been applied successfully for many cultivated crops, especiallymonocotslike wheat or maize, for which a transformation with thehelp of
is less suitable. A disadvantage of this procedure is the damage done to the cellular tissue.
are natural plant parasites, and their natural ability totransfer genes is used for the development of genetically engineeredplants. To create a suitable environment for themselves, theseAgrobacteria insert their genes into plant hosts, resulting in aproliferation of plant cells near the soil level (crown gall). The geneticinformation for tumour growth is encoded on a mobile, circular DNAfragment(plasmid). When Agrobacterium infects a plant, it transfers so-calledT-DNAto a random site in the plant genome. The bacterial T-DNA is cut out of the bacterial plasmid and replaced with the desiredforeign gene. The bacterium is used as a means of transportingforeign genes into plants(vector).
This method works especially well fordicotelydenous plants like potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco.
Agrobacteria are less suitable for introducing foreign genes to cropslike wheat and maize.
Genetic modification of plants occurs in several stages:
An organism that has the desired characteristic is identified.
The specific gene that produces this characteristic is located and cutout of the
To get the gene into the cells of the plant being modified, the geneneeds to be attached to a carrier. A piece of bacterial DNA called aplasmid is joined to the gene to act as the carrier.
A type of switch, called a ‘promoter’, is also included with the
combined gene and carrier. This helps make sure the gene worksproperly when it is put into the plant being modified. Only a smallnumber of cells in the plant being modified will actually take up thenew gene. To find out which ones have done so, the carrier packageoften also includes a marker gene to identify them.