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Genetic transformation and full recovery of alfalfa plants via secondary somatic embryogenesis

Liu, W., Liang, Z., Shan, C., Marsolais, F., Tian, L. (2013). Genetic transformation and full recovery of alfalfa plants via secondary somatic embryogenesis, 49(1), 17-23.


A genetic transformation method via secondary somatic embryogenesis was developed for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Mature somatic embryos of alfalfa were infected by Agrobacterium strain GV3101 containing the binary vector pCAMBIA2301. pCAMBIA2301 harbors the uidA Gus reporter gene and npt II acts as the selectable marker gene. Infected primary embryos were placed on SH2K medium containing plant growth regulators to induce cell dedifferentiation and embryogenesis under 75 mg/L kanamycin selection. The induced calli were transferred to plant medium free of plant growth regulators for embryo formation while maintaining selection. Somatic embryos germinated normally upon transfer to a germination medium. Plants were recovered and grown in a tissue culture room before transfer to a greenhouse. Histochemical analysis showed high levels of GUS activity in secondary somatic embryos and in different organs of plants recovered from secondary somatic embryos. The presence and stable integration of transgenes in recovered plants were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction using transgene-specific primers and Southern blot hybridization using the npt II gene probe. The average transformation efficiency achieved via secondary somatic embryogenesis was 15.2%. The selection for transformation throughout the cell dedifferentiation and embryogenic callus induction phases was very effective, and no regenerated plants escaped the selection procedure. Alfalfa transformation is usually achieved through somatic embryogenesis using different organs of developed plants. Use of somatic embryos as explants for transformation can avoid the plant development phase, providing a faster procedure for introduction of new traits and facilitates further engineering of previously transformed lines. © 2012 The Society for In Vitro Biology.

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