Submitted to: National Stand Establishment Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The use of plant biotechnology for crop improvement has been hampered by three concerns: 1. The ability to recuperate the investment in technology development. 2. The need to prevent escape of transgenes into wild species. 3. The need to protect the introduced technology. We have developed a genetic system that addresses these concerns. The system consists of three elements; a chemically inducible promoter, a site-specific recombinase (CRE), and a late embryogenesis (Lea) specific promoter. A chemical seed treatment activates the CRE gene; CRE is synthesized and removes a blocking DNA sequence. This results in the joining of a Lea promoter to a cytotoxic protein coding sequence to form an active gene. The cytotoxin is only synthesized in the embryo and late in seed maturation and renders the seed nongerminable. Seeds from this plant can be used, but cannot form the basis of a new crop. The pollen also carries the dominant cytotoxin gene, and thus, the traits cannot be passed onto closely related weedy species. We are presently testing the system's efficacy in cotton and tobacco. This embodiment of the system was designed specifically for self pollinating crops. An alternate design is required for open-pollinating crops.