A biolistic method for high-throughput production of transgenic wheat plants with single gene insertions
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Background The relatively low efficiency of biolistic transformation and subsequent integration of multiple copies of the introduced gene/s significantly complicate the genetic modification of wheat (Triticum aestivum) and other plant species. One of the key factors contributing to the reproducibility of this method is the uniformity of the DNA/gold suspension, which is dependent on the coating procedure employed. It was also shown recently that the relative frequency of single copy transgene inserts could be increased through the use of nanogram quantities of the DNA during coating. Results A simplified DNA/gold coating method was developed to produce fertile transgenic plants, via microprojectile bombardment of callus cultures induced from immature embryos. In this method, polyethyleneglycol (PEG) and magnesium salt solutions were utilized in place of the spermidine and calcium chloride of the standard coating method, to precipitate the DNA onto gold microparticles. The prepared microparticles were used to generate transgenics from callus cultures of commercial bread wheat cv. Gladius resulting in an average transformation frequency of 9.9%. To increase the occurrence of low transgene copy number events, nanogram amounts of the minimal expression cassettes containing the gene of interest and the hpt gene were used for co-transformation. A total of 1538 transgenic wheat events were generated from 15,496 embryos across 19 independent experiments. The variation of single copy insert frequencies ranged from 16.1 to 73.5% in the transgenic wheat plants, which compares favourably to published results. Conclusions The DNA/gold coating procedure presented here allows efficient, large scale transformation of wheat. The use of nanogram amounts of vector DNA improves the frequency of single copy transgene inserts in transgenic wheat plants.
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