Traditional Agrobacterium strains deliver transfer DNA, or T-DNA, into plants, including crops. This can create a plant that expresses traits, such as improved drought resistance or better nutritional content, that are valued by growers and can be useful to industry. However, T-DNA is permanently integrated into the plant genome, creating plants labeled “transgenic.” Transgenic plants can be either highly regulated or outlawed.
Purdue University biologists have developed Agrobacterium strains that deliver T-DNA so plants can still be modified to express valued traits, but they are not transgenic. The T-DNA is eventually destroyed by nucleases – naturally existing enzymes that degrade DNA – or it is “diluted” out of the plant nuclei as the cells divide.
Stanton Gelvin, the Edwin Umbarger Distinguished Professor of Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Lan-Ying Lee, research scientist.
IN THE MEDIA
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“This technology developed by Dr. Gelvin and Dr. Lee can benefit tremendously plant biotechnology on a research and commercial scale. It also optimizes the timeline for plant transformation by not requiring a crossover to remove the T-DNA and simplifying regulatory implications. This is a huge advancement on Agrobacterium technology for plant transformation” – Raquel Peron, Licensing Analyst – Life Sciences