Wheat expressing transgenic glutenin shows reduction in yield,
varying production of glutenin, and altered morphology.
Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), cultivar Bobwhite.
High-molecular-weight glutenin subunit (HMW-GS) genes for producing
glutenin. For the generation of some transgenic lines, the gene was
derived from the wheat variety Cheyenne, and for others the gene was
a novel "hybrid" HMW-GS. The transgenes were under the control of
their native promoters. Fifty lines of transgenic plants derived from
fifteen different bombardment experiments in which the immature embryos were
bombarded with one of six different gene constructs containing different
configurations of glutenin genes.
Increase the amount of glutenin stored in wheat kernels. Glutenin
is a protein important for the elasticity of wheat dough used for
baking. Researchers hope to improve the baking quality of wheat flour.
Fifty lines of transgenic wheat plants were grown that had raised levels
of glutenin in field trials.
The authors emphasize the success of this experiment, since most
transgenic lines performed similarly to normal cultivar Bobwhite, from
which they were derived. However, there were effects other than increased
grain glutenin content:
Fifteen of 50 lines (30%) at one field site and 7 of 50 lines (14%) at
the other two sites showed some reduction in yield. (They show that
this is not related to somaclonal variation due to tissue culturing and
probably related to how the gene construct was integrated into the plants
chromosomes ["integration effect"].)
Ten lines (20%) showed some co-suppression of native glutenin, meaning
they produced less nontransgenic glutenin than normal while producing
more transgenic glutenin.
- Lines that had been transformed by the same construct showed "clear
differences in [glutenin gene] expression levels" (p. 1556).
- In visual appearance the majority of transgenic lines were similar
to the untransformed variety (Bobwhite), but "often their appearance was
less uniform. The nonuniformity was difficult to quantify" (p. 1556);
in three lines there were marked differences in appearance.
Although 49 lines contained the bar marker gene that is supposed to
convey herbicide resistance, only 25% were sensitive to herbicide.
Bregitzer, P., A.E. Blechl, D. Fiedler, J. Lin et al. (2006). "Changes
in High Molecular Weight Glutenin Subunit Composition Can Be Genetically
Engineered without Affecting Wheat Agronomic Performance," Crop
Science vol. 46, pp. 1553-63.
USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and University of California,
USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
Not on the market as of 2008.
Copyright 2008 The Nature