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Dispersal Containment of Engineered Genotypes in Transgenic Plants


The unwanted dissemination of transgenic genotypes from one plant cultivar to another via pollen dispersal is a significant problem that often prevents field testing and consumer use of commercially-valuable genetically modified plants. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have developed a novel genetic system for rendering male plant pollen sterile without the concomitant cytotoxic effects of the only other pollen sterilization system currently in use. This advance is a watershed for anyone working with transgenic plants where containment of hybrid genotypes to specific plant cultivars or species is essential. This system is functional in dicots (e.g. tobacco) and is currently being tested in monocots, (e.g. switchgrass). This technology represents a major step forward in enabling innovation in fields as diverse as horticulture, agriculture, and biofuel production, permitting economically valuable greenhouse-to-field application in that it renders male plant pollen sterile, thus preventing unwanted fertilization and unwanted spread of transgenic plant genes; works in both monocots and dicots; and has no cytotoxic effects
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