Document Type



recombinant DNA, gene transfer, gene expression, crop improvement


The application of recombinant DNA technology to plant breeding promises important applications in agriculture and advances in many plant science disciplines. Gene transfer at the molecular level can be routinely accomplished in an increasing number of plant species. For many of the world's important crops, new methods or refinements of proven methods will be needed and are being developed. Experience with gene regulation in transgenic plants is accumulating in many laboratories around the world. The action of any particular gene cannot be predicted precisely without reference to the genetic background in which it acts, but, qualitatively speaking, the cis-acting elements located near and within coding sequences of genes appear co play a dominant role in governing gene expression. This result means that chimeric genes can be constructed and expressed with at least qualitatively predictable results. Several agriculturally interesting traits have been engineered and are undergoing field trials. These traits include several different herbicide resistances, modified fruit characteristics, viral disease resistance, and insect tolerance in rapeseed, tobacco, tomato, potato, alfalfa and cotton. Much work is underway to provide a better understanding of plant metabolism and development with a view to engineering ocher traits. These traits include the composition of storage lipids, regulation of fruit development, and disease resistance. The new tools for genetic manipulation of crop plants provide important opportunities for improving crop performance and the economic and environmental performance of agriculture.

Publication Date

March 1990

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





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© Copyright 1990 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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