Lecture 12  February 25, 2004


GMO breeding strategy for self-pollinated crops


Most GMO genes relate to herbicide tolerance, insect (Bt) resistance

Future GMO genes- BNF, yield, sink allocation, nutrition, plastics/products, vaccines


Process to produce GMO crops

  1. Identify gene, extract DNA, clone gene
  2. Develop gene that will be inserted
    1. Promoter – desired gene- selectable marker – terminator
    2. Tissue specific promoters
  3. Transfer gene into cell
    1. Gene gun – John Sanford story
    2. Agrobacterium tumefaciens
    3. Electroporation
    4. Microinjection
  4. Test gene presence and function
  5. Go from cell to plant
  6. Self for several generations to insure stability
  7. Backcross into elite line
  8. Get approval from USDA to field test
  9. Get approval from USDA to “deregulate” or commercialize


USDA approvals to field-test GMO plants (ERS report)

1987-9    1991-69   1995-666   1998-1061   2000-899


Corn (3327), potato (761), soybean (601), wheat (201)


Companies- Monsanto (2112), Pioneer (535), Aggrieve (312), Dupont (305)

Public-USDA/ARS (130), Iowa State University (69), University Idaho (66), Rutgers (59)


If it does well in field tests, the next step is to apply to USDA to “determination of deregulation status” or get permission to commercialize

By mid-2001 USDA received 79 applications and approved 53-(corn-18, tomato-12, soybean-5, cotton-5)


Advantages GMOs

  1. Fast (1/2 years faster)
  2. Put in specific gene
  3. Can put in “any” gene
  4. VERY powerful technology



  1. Costly
  2. Hard to use multiple genes systems
  3. Public concern of eating GMOs
  4. Limited markets (not in EU, Japan)
  5. VERY powerful technology


Marker-assisted breeding


QTLs – Quantitative trait loci


Methods to develop cultivars for release in self-pollinated crops