Special Issue: Transgenic Crops and Food Security   

July 2011, Volume 53 Issue 7, Pages 510ĘC595.

Cover Caption: Transgenic Crops and Food Security
About the cover: Due to climate change and the fast pace of industrial development and urbanization in developing countries, it has become a challenging issue to feed the increasing population of the world. Innovative technology, such as transgenic technology, to breed crop varieties that contain elite traits including stress resistance, high nutritional and water use efficiency, and high yield, may provide a key answer to this problem. The cover picture represents the vision that rice productivity can be enhanced through genetic modification and transgenic technology (Cover design: Ying Wang; the lower portion of the cover picture was provided by Dr. Bingtang Chen)


Transgenic Crops: An Option for Future Agriculture  
Author: Wei-Cai Yang and Jianmin Wan
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 510-511
Published Online: July 7, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01064.x
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          Invited Expert Reviews
Recombinase-mediated Gene Stacking as a Transformation Operating System  
Author: David W. Ow
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 512-519
Published Online: June 15, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01061.x

The current method for combining transgenes into a genome is through the assortment of independent loci, a classical operating system compatible with transgenic traits created by different developers, at different times and/or through different transformation techniques. However, as the number of transgenic loci increases over time, increasingly larger populations are needed to find the rare individual with the desired assortment of transgenic loci along with the non-transgenic elite traits. Introducing a transgene directly into a field cultivar would bypass the need to introgress the engineered trait. However, this necessitates separate transformations into numerous field cultivars, along with the characterization and regulatory approval of each independent transformation event. Reducing the number of segregating transgenic loci could be achieved if multiple traits are introduced at the same time, a preferred option if each of the many traits is new or requires re-engineering. If re-engineering of previously introduced traits is not needed, then appending a new trait to an existing locus would be a rational strategy. The insertion of new DNA at a known locus can be accomplished by site-specific integration, through a host-dependent homology-based process, or a heterologous site-specific recombination system. Here, we discuss gene stacking through the use of site-specific recombinases.

Ow DW (2011) Recombinase-mediated gene stacking as a transformation operating system. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 512–519.

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Risk Assessment and Ecological Effects of Transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis Crops on Non-Target Organisms  
Author: Hui-Lin Yu, Yun-He Li and Kong-Ming Wu
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 520-538
Published Online: May 12, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01047.x

The application of recombinant DNA technology has resulted in many insect-resistant varieties by genetic engineering (GE). Crops expressing Cry toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been planted worldwide, and are an effective tool for pest control. However, one ecological concern regarding the potential effects of insect-resistant GE plants on non-target organisms (NTOs) has been continually debated. In the present study, we briefly summarize the data regarding the development and commercial use of transgenic Bt varieties, elaborate on the procedure and methods for assessing the non-target effects of insect-resistant GE plants, and synthetically analyze the related research results, mostly those published between 2005 and 2010. A mass of laboratory and field studies have shown that the currently available Bt crops have no direct detrimental effects on NTOs due to their narrow spectrum of activity, and Bt crops are increasing the abundance of some beneficial insects and improving the natural control of specific pests. The use of Bt crops, such as Bt maize and Bt cotton, results in significant reductions of insecticide application and clear benefits on the environment and farmer health. Consequently, Bt crops can be a useful component of integrated pest management systems to protect the crop from targeted pests.

Yu HL, Li YH, Wu KM (2011) Risk assessment and ecological effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis crops on non-target organisms. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 520–538.

Abstract (Browse 2197)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
The Development and Standardization of Testing Methods for Genetically Modified Organisms and their Derived Products  
Author: Dabing Zhang and Jinchao Guo
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 539-551
Published Online: June 9, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01060.x

As the worldwide commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) increases and consumers concern the safety of GMOs, many countries and regions are issuing labeling regulations on GMOs and their products. Analytical methods and their standardization for GM ingredients in foods and feed are essential for the implementation of labeling regulations. To date, the GMO testing methods are mainly based on the inserted DNA sequences and newly produced proteins in GMOs. This paper presents an overview of GMO testing methods as well as their standardization.

Zhang D, Guo J (2011) The development and standardization of testing methods for genetically modified organisms and their derived products. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 539–551.

Abstract (Browse 1942)  |  References  |  Full Text HTML  |  Full Text PDF  |  Cited By       
Cassava Genetic Transformation and its Application in Breeding  
Author: Jia Liu, Qijie Zheng, Qiuxiang Ma, Kranthi Kumar Gadidasu and Peng Zhang
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 552-569
Published Online: May 12, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01048.x

As a major source of food, cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is an important root crop in the tropics and subtropics of Africa and Latin America, and serves as raw material for the production of starches and bioethanol in tropical Asia. Cassava improvement through genetic engineering not only overcomes the high heterozygosity and serious trait separation that occurs in its traditional breeding, but also quickly achieves improved target traits. Since the first report on genetic transformation in cassava in 1996, the technology has gradually matured over almost 15 years of development and has overcome cassava genotype constraints, changing from mode cultivars to farmer-preferred ones. Significant progress has been made in terms of an increased resistance to pests and diseases, biofortification, and improved starch quality, building on the fundamental knowledge and technologies related to planting, nutrition, and the processing of this important food crop that has often been neglected. Therefore, cassava has great potential in food security and bioenergy development worldwide.

Liu J, Zheng Q, Ma Q, Gadidasu KK, Zhang P (2011) Cassava genetic transformation and its application in breeding. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 552–569.

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Functions and Application of the AP2/ERF Transcription Factor Family in Crop Improvement  
Author: Zhao-Shi Xu, Ming Chen, Lian-Cheng Li and You-Zhi Ma
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 570-585
Published Online: June 16, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01062.x

Plants have acquired sophisticated stress response systems to adapt to changing environments. It is important to understand plants’ stress response mechanisms in the effort to improve crop productivity under stressful conditions. The AP2/ERF transcription factors are known to regulate diverse processes of plant development and stress responses. In this study, the molecular characteristics and biological functions of AP2/ERFs in a variety of plant species were analyzed. AP2/ERFs, especially those in DREB and ERF subfamilies, are ideal candidates for crop improvement because their overexpression enhances tolerances to drought, salt, freezing, as well as resistances to multiple diseases in the transgenic plants. The comprehensive analysis of physiological functions is useful in elucidating the biological roles of AP2/ERF family genes in gene interaction, pathway regulation, and defense response under stress environments, which should provide new opportunities for the crop tolerance engineering.

Xu ZS, Chen M, Li LC,Ma YZ (2011) Functions and application of the AP2/ERF transcription factor family in crop improvement. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 570–585.

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          Research Articles
A Transgenic Study on Affecting Potato Tuber Yield by Expressing the Rice Sucrose Transporter Genes OsSUT5Z and OsSUT2M  
Author: Aijun Sun, Yan Dai, Xinsheng Zhang, Chunmin Li, Kun Meng, Honglin Xu, Xiaoli Wei, Guifang Xiao, Pieter B.F. Ouwerkerk, Mei Wang and Zhen Zhu
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2011 53(7): 586-595
Published Online: June 16, 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01063.x

In many plants, sucrose transporters are essential for both sucrose exports from sources and imports into sinks, indicating a function in assimilate partitioning. To investigate whether sucrose transporters can improve the yield of starch plant, potato plants (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Désirée) were transformed with cDNAs of the rice sucrose transporter genes OsSUT5Z and OsSUT2M under the control of a tuber-specific, class-I patatin promoter. Compared to the controls, the average fructose content of OsSUT5Z transgenic tubers significantly increased. However, the content of the sugars and starch in the OsSUT2M transgenic potato tubers showed no obvious difference. Correspondingly, the average tuber yield, average number of tubers per plant and average weight of single tuber showed no significant difference in OsSUT2M transgenic tubers with controls. In the OsSUT5Z transgenic lines, the average tuber yield per plant was 1.9-fold higher than the controls, and the average number of tubers per plant increased by more than 10 tubers on average, whereas the average weight of a single tuber did not increase significantly. These results suggested that the average number of tubers per plant showed more contribution than the average weight of a single tuber to the tuber yield per plant.

Sun A, Dai Y, Zhang X, Li C, Meng K, Xu H, Wei X, Xiao G, Ouwerkerk PBF, Wang M, Zhu Z (2011) A transgenic study on affecting potato tuber yield by expressing the rice sucrose transporter genes OsSUT5Z and OsSUT2M. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 53(7), 586–595.

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