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The Ti Plasmids as Natural and as Practical Gene Vectors for Plants

Abstract

The fundamental goals of present day genetic engineering are in fact identical to those of traditional plant breeding: to engineer plants that are more valuable as crop plants, as biomass or as sources of important pharmaceuticals and enzymes. Central to many schemes designed to genetically modify plants is the availability of an efficient host gene vector system. Ideally the gene vector should provide an easy and reproducible system for the introduction of isolated genes—or groups of genes—into the genome of plant cells. The foreign genes should be appropriately expressed in the genetically modified (transformed) plant cells and stably transmitted, both somatically and sexually, to the offspring of the initially transformed cells. An ideal gene vector should also make it possible to introduce, maintain, and express any gene in plant cells independent of its origin, whether it is from plants, animals, bacteria, fungi or viruses. Finally one would wish the gene vector to have a very broad host range in order to be able to engineer the widest possible range of different plants.

Agrobacteria, with their so–called Ti plasmids, provide us with a natural gene vector that can readily be modified to fulfill most of the requirements of an ideal gene vector for plants.

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Schell, J., Van Montagu, M. The Ti Plasmids as Natural and as Practical Gene Vectors for Plants. Nat Biotechnol 1, 175–180 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0483-175

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