New genes for cassava
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1996. New genes for cassava. Spore 66. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47501
American, Swiss and British scientists have developed techniques to transfer 'foreign' genes into cassava. This will open uppossibilities for improving cassava in ways which, hitherto, have eluded researchers. The key to the breakthrough is the...
American, Swiss and British scientists have developed techniques to transfer 'foreign' genes into cassava. This will open up possibilities for improving cassava in ways which, hitherto, have eluded researchers. The key to the breakthrough is the development of techniques by British scientists at the University of Bath that make it possible to regenerate cassava plantlets from single cells from which mature cassava plants can be produced. This is a crucial development as adding 'foreign' genes is most successfully done at the single cell stage, but previously scientists had found it difficult to regenerate cassava plantlets from single cells. The Bath researchers have achieved this with two improved cultivars from Nigeria and Colombia. Whether the new technique will work with all cassava varieties has yet to be established. The procedures developed at Bath open the way for American and Swiss researchers to use their techniques to transfer the genes into cassava. American scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have succeeded in bombarding single cassava cells with micro-particles of gold coated with the gene. The particles act as micro-bullets which penetrate the cell wall, thereby carrying the 'foreign' gene into the cell. Meanwhile, Swiss researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have used a bacterium, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, to transfer new genes into cassava cells by infecting the plant cells naturally by introducing their own genes. The bacterium could also be manipulated to transfer other genes. These technologies should also make it possible to introduce pest and disease resistance in those countries where it has not been possible in the past, and to improve the quality and storing properties of this very important tuber crop. School of Biology and Biochemistry University of Bath Bath, Somerset BA2 7AY, UK The Scripps Research Institute 10666 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla CA 92037, USA Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zentrum LFW E 17 CH-8092 Zurich, SWITZERLAND