Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 21, 2007
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Gene technology is a powerful tool for genetic studies and for crop improvement and allows breeders and geneticists to overcome hybridization barriers when accessing useful traits. Gene transfer via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated technology is the preferred method for the legume crops including pea. Established methodology has allowed several genes to be introduced, stably inherited and expressed in pea. Introduction of the alpha amylase gene from common bean has been introduced for resistance to the pea seed weevil, Bruchus pisorum. Implementation of gene technology must be preceded by careful attention to regulatory issues and intellectual property rights considerations. Public perception limits the adoption of gene technology for crop improvement; however, application of this technology to study gene function will allow breeders and geneticists to expand their understanding of the pea genome. Overall, gene technology is a very powerful tool and is expected to have a significant impact on crop improvement and genomic evaluation of all crop plants.
Technical Abstract: Development of gene technology methods for plants has allowed novel genes to be introduced, where natural variation is lacking, irrespective of hybridization barriers. Pea, an important agricultural crop worldwide, lacks certain genes for disease resistance and would benefit from introduction of novel resistance traits. In addition to its role in agricultural production, pea plays a vital dietary role in developing countries and could serve as valuable vehicle to provide enhanced nutrition to malnourished populations. Gene technology in pea was first studied in the late 1980s and viable protocols for gene introduction and selection of transformed plants were established in the early 1990s. Although other methods have been tested, Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated methods for gene introduction are preferred. Several examples of successful transformation have been reported and the introduction of the alpha amylase gene from common bean for resistance to Bruchus pisorum, the pea seed weevil, has potential to overcome the adverse effects of this agronomically important pest. Consideration of regulatory hurdles and intellectual property rights are crucial to the successful implementation of gene technology and has hindered the use of Bruchid resistant peas. Application of gene technology has its greatest potential in basic studies of gene function. Gene complementation experiments allow the function of candidate genes to be verified and characterized. Overall, gene technology is a very powerful tool and is expected to have a significant impact on crop improvement and genomic evaluation of all crop plants.