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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Scope of Biotechnology in Grain Legumes.

Authors
item McPhee, Kevin
item Kueneman, E - FAO
item Sohl, M - FAO
item Keerthsinghe, G - FAO

Submitted to: Food Legume Research International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2008
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Gene modification is a powerful method to study and characterize genes and gene function of plant species. Several methods have been used to introduce novel genes including direct gene transfer using microinjection and biolistics technology. However, the most effective method for legume species is the use of disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains engineered to transfer a gene of interest into plant cells. Application of A. tumefaciens to genetically modify grain legumes such as pea, lentil, chickpea, lupin soybean common bean and cowpea has been practiced since the early 1980s. Arguably, the most valuable application is for the scientific investigation of gene function. The ability to place a gene of interest, such as a putative disease resistance gene, into a susceptible genotype for the study of complementation and restoration of resistance is an invaluable tool for functional genomics. Introduction of herbicide resistant genes for agronomic applications has met with stiff resistance in many instances, but, when properly managed, may have a valuable role in crop production. Possibilities of harnessing newly emerging concepts and techniques in cellular and molecular biology need to be further explored for identification and modification of crop species with enhanced nitrogen fixation, superior resource use (water and nutrients) efficiency and adaptation to harsh environments (drought, soil salinity, acidity). Undoubtedly, further advancement in genetic modification of crop plants with traits which will benefit crop production and contribute to public health and safety through reduced agricultural inputs will have a significant place in the future of crop production.

Technical Abstract: Gene modification of plant species has been used to modify expression profiles for more than two decades. A number of different methods have been used to accomplish this including direct gene transfer using microinjection and biolistics technology. The most popular and very successful method for legume species is the use of disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains engineered to transfer a gene of interest into plant cells. Application of A. tumefaciens to genetically modify grain legumes has been practiced since the early 1980s. Since that time transformation protocols have been developed for several food legume species including pea (Pisum sativum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), lupin (Lupinus alba), soybean (Glycine max), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Genetic modification of crop plants has been used for a variety of purposes. Arguably, the most valuable application is for the scientific investigation of gene function. The ability to place a gene of interest, such as a putative disease resistance gene, into a susceptible genotype for the study of complementation and restoration of resistance is an invaluable tool for functional genomics. Introduction of herbicide resistant genes for agronomic applications has met with stiff resistance in many instances, but, when properly managed, may have a valuable role in crop production. Possibilities of harnessing newly emerging concepts and techniques in cellular and molecular biology need to be further explored for identification and modification of crop species with enhanced nitrogen fixation, superior resource use (water and nutrients) efficiency and adaptation to harsh environments (drought, soil salinity, acidity). Undoubtedly, further advancement in genetic modification of crop plants with traits which will benefit crop production and contribute to public health and safety through reduced agricultural inputs will have a significant place in the future of crop production.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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