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Expression of foreign genes in regenerated plants and in their progeny

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Chimeric genes comprised of the nopaline synthase promoter and bacterial coding sequences specifying resistance to kanamycin, chloramphenicol or methotrexate, were inserted into the non-oncogenic Ti plasmid vector pGV3850 by recombination (through homologous pBR322 sequences present in the chimeric gene constructs and pGV3850). These co-integrates in Agrobacterium were used to infect single plant protoplasts of Nicotiana by co-cultivation. The resistance traits allowed the selection of transformed calli in tissue culture in the presence of the appropriate antibiotic. Furthermore, as a non-oncogenic Ti plasmid was used for the protoplast transformation, phenotypically normal and fertile plants could be regenerated from the resistant calli. We have shown that these fully differentiated plant tissues exhibit functional expression of resistance traits (KmR and CmR). All plants carrying the chimeric genes developed normally, flowered, and set seeds. The inheritance of several of these resistance traits was analyzed and shown to be Mendelian. These results are model experiments to demonstrate that genes of interest can be systematically transferred to the genome of plants using non-oncogenic Ti plasmid derivatives; and that transformed plants are capable of normal growth and differentiation, thus providing a natural environment for the study of gene expression and development of plant cells.

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