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Genetically Modified PlanetEnvironmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Plants$
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C. Neal Stewart

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157451.001.0001

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Plant Biotechnology

Plant Biotechnology

The Magic of Making GM Plants

(p.23) 3 Plant Biotechnology
Genetically Modified Planet

C. Neal Stewart

Oxford University Press

Transgenic plant technology is possible because of the conservation of gene expression mechanisms among diverse organisms, in which the flow of information goes from DNA to RNA to protein. The genetic code in DNA is recognized and processed similarly in bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals, thus enabling the transfer of genes from any organism to plants. Plants are transformed with new genes, called transgenes, in the genetically engineered plant by two general methods. The first method uses a natural plant genetic engineer, a bacterium named Agrobacterium tumefaciens, to transfer DNA. This bacterium naturally causes crown gall disease in plants, but researchers have rendered it non-pathogenic so that it merely transfers the DNA of interest into the plant genome. The second method uses a “gene gun” to blast gold particles coated with DNA into plant cells, where the DNA comes off and gets integrated into the plant genome. Both these technologies were developed in the 1980s and has since improved.

Keywords:   Agrobacterium tumefaciens, DNA, gene gun, genetic code, transgenic

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