Transgenic Plants: Applications, Examples, and Methods

transgenic plants

Prior to the development of transgenic plants, crops were altered to increase their productivity using the principle of selection. There has been a selection process like this for ages. The world’s population may top nine billion people by the year 2050.

To meet the demands of such a huge population in some previous ages, food production will need to expand at the same rate or perhaps faster.

Therefore, using genetic approaches to enhance crops has become necessary in recent years. Transgenics can be used to create plants with desired features and even higher yields. More crops that are resilient to pests and diseases and endure longer would be possible thanks to transgenics.

We can feed the expanding population and create more enticing products by producing transgenic plants. Given that GM crops’ uses come with a number of benefits and drawbacks, there is still much discussion over their future.

What are Transgenic Plants?

Transgenic plants are those whose genomes have had one or more genes from a different species inserted using genetic engineering techniques. Techniques include the biolistic method, in which cells are transformed using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and a heavy metal coated with plasmid DNA.

Gene Transfer Methods

Gene transfer in plants often takes place using two different techniques. These are the two approaches to the creation of transgenic plants:

1. Agrobacterium mediation

Plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumifaciens infects plants. Crown gall disease, which results in swelling in plants slightly above the soil line, is a known effect of it. Once the plants are infected, the pathogens give them their genetic material, which is eventually integrated into the plant genome.

In order to do genetic engineering, a Ti plasmid containing the desired genes is added to the bacterium and made to infect the plant.

The Ti plasmid, a circular plasmid that induces tumors and distributes the host chromosomes to the plants, is also to blame for the swelling.

2. Particle Bombardment

Also called the gene gun method, the target gene is coated in a gold or tungsten particle and battered into the plant cells using this technique. The sequence is absorbed into the plant cells after being blasted, and the plant cells can then grow by using tissue culture techniques

Applications of Transgenic Plants

  • Resistance to biotic and abiotic stress: Plants are subjected to biotic stress due to the presence of pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and other living organisms. Disease-resistant genes are inserted into plants to alleviate them of this stress, improving crop output and quality.
  • Abiotic stress, which results from environmental changes, greatly harms plants. For plants to grow, the following elements are crucial: temperature, water level, humidity, and soil composition. All the elements appear to have changed as a result of climatic changes. As a result, genes that can withstand stress are added to plants to improve output.
  • Enhanced nutritional value: Biofortification is a procedure that improves a crop’s nutritional worth. In underdeveloped nations, malnutrition is a widespread issue. Plants with improved nutritional value are bred as a remedy to this problem.
  • Recombinant human proteins had previously been created utilizing animal and microbial systems, however due to several drawbacks, this process has been switched to the plant system. Transgenic plants have been used to produce vaccines and medicines. This application hasn’t yet been commercialized and is still in the development phase.

Examples of Transgenic Plants

  • Golden rice: Golden rice was created to help youngsters who lack vitamin A. Rice species were injected with phytoene synthase genes using gene gun techniques, increasing the amount of vitamin A in the rice grains.
  • Bt cotton: Cotton that has been genetically modified to resist the bollworm pest.
  • Pink Pineapple: By boosting lycopene levels, the GMO pink pineapple was given pink flesh. Pineapples naturally contain lycopene, a pigment that gives tomatoes their red color and gives watermelons their pink hue.
  • Flavr Savr: Due to delays in ripening and softening, the genetically engineered tomato crop known as Flavr Savr has a longer shelf life.

Other plants, including as the potato, corn, papaya, maize squash, pumpkin, and alfalfa, have also been altered to provide crops with higher yields and resilience.