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Pollen Sterility—A Promising Approach to Gene Confinement and Breeding for Genetically Modified Bioenergy Crops

Author(s): Joel P. Hague | Stephen L. Dellaporta | Maria A. Moreno | Chip Longo | Kimberly Nelson | Albert P. Kausch

Journal: Agriculture (Basel)
ISSN 2077-0472

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 295;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: bioenergy | gene confinement | GM crops | transgenic plants | pollen sterility | regulatory concerns | agricultural regulation | environmental regulation | gametophyte | Oryza sativa

Advanced genetic and biotechnology tools will be required to realize the full potential of food and bioenergy crops. Given current regulatory concerns, many transgenic traits might never be deregulated for commercial release without a robust gene confinement strategy in place. The potential for transgene flow from genetically modified (GM) crops is widely known. Pollen-mediated transfer is a major component of gene flow in flowering plants and therefore a potential avenue for the escape of transgenes from GM crops. One approach for preventing and/or mitigating transgene flow is the production of trait linked pollen sterility. To evaluate the feasibility of generating pollen sterility lines for gene confinement and breeding purposes we tested the utility of a promoter (Zm13Pro) from a maize pollen-specific gene (Zm13) for driving expression of the reporter gene GUS and the cytotoxic gene barnase in transgenic rice (Oryza sativa ssp. Japonica cv. Nipponbare) as a monocot proxy for bioenergy grasses. This study demonstrates that the Zm13 promoter can drive pollen-specific expression in stably transformed rice and may be useful for gametophytic transgene confinement and breeding strategies by pollen sterility in food and bioenergy crops.
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