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Genetic Engineering of Plants

By: Shubham Dwivedi 2010UBT 010


Plants have been genetically manipulated by plant breeders for decades Today, however, pant breeders can directly modify the DNA of plants, and they can quickly add genes from other species to plant genomes by DNA recombinant techniques An important feature of plant cell is their totipotency This totipotency of plant cell is a major advantage for genetic engineering because it permits the generation of entire plants from individual modified somatic cells

Genetic engineering: using molecular biology methods to modify the genetic information of an organism. To learn about the biology of an organism To generate a new or improved commercial product Plant biotechnology: manipulating or modifying plants to improve agriculture or to generate a new or improved commercial product. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Organisms are modified by genetic engineering to express desirable traits.

Three Major Reasons for Developing Transgenic Plants

The addition of genes often improves the agricultural, horticultural, or ornamental value of a crop plant Transgenic plants can act as living bioreactors for the inexpensive production of economically important proteins or metabolites Plant genetic transformation (transgenesis) provides a powerful means for studying the action of genes during the development and other biological processes

Some of the genetically determined traits that can be introduced into plants by a single gene, or possibly, a small cluster of genes include Insecticidal activity Protection against viral infection Resistance to herbicides Protection against pathogenic fungi and bacteria Delay of senescence Tolerance to environmental stresses Altered flower pigmentation Improved nutritional quality of seed proteins Increased post harvest shelf life and self incompatibility Improved nutritional quality of seed proteins

To date, over 140 different plant species have been genetically transformed including many crops and forest species, in over 50 different countries worldwide.
Plant Biotechnology is having an enormous impact on plant breeding programs because it significantly decreases the 10 to 15 years that it takes to develop a new variety using traditional plant breeding techniques

Methods to introduce DNA fragments to plants

Agrobacterium Virus

Chemically induced
Physically assisted

The bacterium can transfer its own DNA into plants and modulates plant growth and development (causes crown gall disease) Efficiently transforms many dicotyledonous plants Problematical with monocots

Agrobacterium contains Ti plasmid and T-DNA

Agrobacterium has two types of DNA: chromosomal DNA Ti plasmid Ti plasmid: Tumor inducing plasmid T-DNA: transfer DNA, a portion of the Ti plasmid that is transferred into a host

The main steps involved in Agrobacterium-mediated gene transformation

1. 2. 3. Agrobacterium attaches to the plant cell surface and forms a pilli. Bacterial proteins cleave, bind, and transfer the bacterial T-DNA to the plant cell. The bacterial T-DNA is integrated into the plant chromosomes.

Important Features On a Ti-Plasmid:

Replication origin: required for DNA replication. Virulence regions: genes required for T-DNA cleavage, binding, translocation, and possibly integration. Onco genes: responsible for auxin and cytokinin production. They are required for tumor growth of the infected plant. Opine metabolic genes: required for opine synthesis and catabolism, the nitrogen source for the survival of Agrobacterium.

The Ti plasmid is key for Agrobacterium-mediated gene transformation

Ti plasmid

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