Genetic Engineering of Spring Wheat

Biotron, Branch of Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russia, 142290, Moscow Region, Pushchino, Science Ave 6. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The availability of transformation technology provides an opportunity to manipulate cereals to enhance its agronomic performance, resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses and yield. Although wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) can now be routinely transformed using biolistic or agrobacterium methods, the complete process for production of commercial genotypes from the efficient DNA delivery to fast generation of the homozygous transgenic progenies sill remains an art. Our research is being directed toward the speeding up the process of identification of transgenic tissue and the reducing the time and the amount of work involved in the production of transgenic plants of Russian cultivars and their transgenic progenies. A dual selection system based on the combination of gfp as vital reporter gene and bar gene for transgene recovery allowed the establishment of efficient escape-free protocols for Russian wheat cultivars. The biolistic approach was used to produce transgenic plants using explants from immature zygotic embryos as well as from tissues from mature seeds. The system of dual selection was successfully applied for early scoring of transgenic/non transgenic progenies and homozygous transgenic plants and to generate herbicide resistant wheat lines. Different homozygous transgenic populations were successfully undergone the filed trials and showed the stability and inheritability of the new traits in wheat. To improve the plant growth and yield of wheat in saline soils, we have generated transgenic wheat plants overexpressing genes encoding vacuole-type Na+ /H+ antiporters isolated from barley and salt-brush. Several transgenic wheat plants with higher levels of antiporter transcripts exhibited better biomass production at the vegetative growth stage in saline condition. Besides the modification for better agronomic characters, the assessment of transgenic wheat safety was also investigated in field trials. Our research for crop-to-crop genes flow in 2004, 2005 and 2008 found the clear variation in the rate of the hybridization between transgenic and conventional wheat. Analyses of phenotypic and molecular data showed that gene flow was greatly affected by the direction of the dominant wind, the distance between the targets and amount of transgenic plants cultivated as the donors of the pollen.