Aspen Bibliography

Selection of Marker-Free Transgenic Plants Using the Isopentenyl Transferase Gene

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America





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We have developed a new plant vector system for repeated transformation (called MAT for multi-auto- transformation) in which a chimeric ipt gene, inserted into the transposable element Ac, is used as a selectable marker for transformation. Selectable marker genes conferring antibiotic or herbicide resistance, used to introduce economically valu- able genes into crop plants, have three major problems: (i) the selective agents have negative effects on proliferation and differentiation of plant cells; (ii) there is uncertainty regard- ing the environmental impact of many selectable marker genes; (iii) it is difficult to perform recurrent transformations using the same selectable marker to pyramid desirable genes. The MAT vector system containing the ipt gene and the Ac element is designed to overcome these difficulties. When tobacco leaf segments were transformed and selected, subse- quent excision of the modified Ac produced marker-free transgenic tobacco plants without sexual crosses or seed production. In addition, the chimeric ipt gene could be visually used as a selectable marker for transformation of hybrid aspen (Populus sieboldii 􏰂 Populus grandidentata). The chi- meric ipt gene, therefore, is an attractive alternative to the most widely used selectable marker genes. The MAT vector system provides a promising way to shorten breeding time for genetically engineered crops. This method could be particu- larly valuable for fruit and forest trees, for which long generation times are a more significant barrier to breeding and genetic analysis.