Transgenic Plants


Transgenic plants contain genetic material (their own, foreign or artificial) stably integrated into their genome that has been introduced by methods other than classical breeding and that is passed on to successive generations.

Keywords: transformation; Agrobacterium tumefaciens; direct gene transfer; biosafety; application for agriculture

Figure 1.

Transformation and regeneration of plants. Many plant organs, tissues or cell types can be used for transformation, the choice of which is determined by the plant species and/or the transformation method. After transformation, plant cells that integrated the transgene are selected, propagated and transgenic plants are regenerated.

Figure 2.

Scheme of Agrobacterium tumefaciens‐mediated gene transfer. (1) Wounded plant cells release their content; (2) agrobacterium senses phenolic compounds leading to the activation of virulence genes; (3) the action of some virulence proteins directly on the T‐DNA results in the formation of a complex consisting of a single stranded T‐DNA attached to the VirD2 protein (represented by a black circle) and possibly coated by VirE2 proteins (represented by a grey oval); (4) the T‐complex is exported to plant cells and (5) enters the nucleus; (6) T‐DNA is integrated randomly in the plant nuclear genome.

Figure 3.

Schematic representation of the principle of a particle bombardment device.

Figure 4.

Importance of transgenic crops in agriculture. (a) Major traits for which plants have been genetically modified (data from 2000). (b) Cultivation of genetically modified plants in the USA, Argentina and Canada between 1996 and 2000.


Further Reading

Birch RG (1997) Plant transformation: problems and strategies for practical application. In: Jones R (ed.) Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology, pp. 298–326. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews Inc.

Gelvin SB and Schilperoort A (1997) Plant Molecular Biology Manual, 2nd edn. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Hansen G and Chilton MD (1999) Lessons in gene transfer to plants by a gifted microbe. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 240: 21–57.

Potrykus I and Spangenberg G (1995) Gene Transfer to Plants. Laboratory Manuals. Berlin: Springer‐Verlag.

Spaink HP, Kondorosi A and Hooykaas PJJ (1998) The Rhizobiaceae. Molecular Biology of Model Plant‐associated Bacteria. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Zupan J and Zambryski P (1997) The Agrobacterium DNA transfer complex. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 16: 279–285.

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How to Cite close
Crouzet, Philippe, and Hohn, Barbara(Aug 2001) Transgenic Plants. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000992]