Submitted to: Society for In Vitro Biology Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 18, 2009
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
Citation: Oliver, M.J. 2009. Seed Targeted Gene Confinement Strategies. Society for In Vitro Biology Proceedings (abstract). Society for In Vitro Biology Annual Meeting, June 9-12, 2009, Charleston, North Carolina. 2009 CDROM. Technical Abstract: The genetic improvement of plants using biotechnology is now centrally important to agriculture, food security, and the biofuels industry. It is also important to the continued health of the environment as the need for food (on existing arable land) and renewable energy becomes critical. New genes can be introduced into plants that confer valuable traits such as drought and stress tolerance, enhanced nutrition and yield, insect and pest resistance, vaccines and recombinant pharmaceuticals, enzymes for biomass conversion, altered cell wall properties, phyto-remediation, and a long list of others. Many of the applications will have neutral or even beneficial environmental consequences, but commercial-scale production of some of these transgenic plants could lead to undesirable environmental and agricultural consequences. The possibility that transgene escape into related crop plants (where the trait may be undesirable) or non-crop sexually compatible species (giving them a selective advantage) has to be considered. To realize the full potential of agricultural biotechnology, strategies for gene containment to prevent gene flow must be employed. Seed based gene containment strategies offer several advantages, including prevention of gene escape through pollen and seed, technology isolation, prevention of pre-harvest sprouting, and elimination of volunteers. Utilizing the GeneSafe design as a base, we have designed several new strategies aimed at improving the containment of transgenes using the seed as the target for control. The new strategies offer complete protection and also allow the seed producer to remove tag-along technologies, e.g., antibiotic resistance, and ensure full expression of the technology prior to deployment in the producer’s field.