Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2008
Citation: Sakhanokho, H.F., Kelley, R.Y. Oat. "Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants: Transgenic Cereals and Forage Grasses", 2008. pp. 139-156. Interpretive Summary: In this review, we provide an extensive and yet concise summary of the current developments in oat biotechnology with regard to the contribution of biotechnology to oat research and improvement. Progress in oat biotechnology has been traditionally slow. This is due to several factors, including the fact that most elite oat cultivars or varieties are difficult to grow in tissue culture, the scarcity of research funds for oats, and the fact that oat genome is very large (more than five times larger than human genome) and complex. Recently, however, considerable progress has been made in oat tissue culture and genetic engineering, laying the groundwork for the improvement of elite varieties through biotechnology. Despite the challenges mentioned above, the future of oat biotechnology could still be bright because of the increasing amount of heath benefits associated with oats. These benefits include cholesterol-lowering effects and the blood glucose and insulin-reducing responses of oat bran, which is so crucial in controlling diabetes, a disease that is increasingly becoming a global health threat.
Technical Abstract: Progress in oat biotechnology has been traditionally hampered by several factors, including the recalcitrance of most elite oat cultivars to regeneration via somatic embryogenesis, the scarcity of research funds, and the complex and large oat genome size. However, recent advances in oat tissue culture and transformation systems have laid the groundwork for the improvement of elite oat cultivars through biotechnology. In addition, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation using meristems as explants has been achieved in many monocots, including rice. This technique, which is virtually genotype independent, has the potential to be applied in oat, allowing for the transformation of even more elite oat cultivars.