We describe a new plant transformation vector system which utilizes the transposition functions of the maize Ac/Ds transposable element family to re-position transgenes in transgenic crop plants. The practical applications of the system are two-fold. It allows the production of plants which exhibit a range of different stabilizable transgene expression levels following a single primary transformation event, and it allows for the elimination of specific transgene sequences—such as a selectable marker gene—subsequent to the transformation event. We have demonstrated the system using the NptII selectable marker gene and a Ds element containing the GUS reporter gene. Progeny plants were recovered from primary transformants from which either the NptII gene or the Ds/GUS element have been eliminated. We also show that the expression level of the GUS gene within both individual and amplified Ds elements can vary as a function of their position in the genome following transposition.
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