Dr Richard Espley
In nature, Agrobacterium is able to integrate its own DNA into a plant. That ability we can exploit in the laboratory to move the genes that we are interested in into the plants that we are transforming, and it does this really efficiently.
To transform a leaf with Agrobacterium, first we have to transform our Agrobacterium with a gene that we are interested in coupled to an antibiotic-resistance gene. Then we take our leaf pieces, we damage them – for example, we might cut them – and we introduce the Agrobacterium to those cut leaf pieces.
We leave them just for about 10 minutes, and that’s enough time for the Agrobacterium to integrate its DNA into those exposed cells on the leaf surface. Then we remove those leaf pieces, we let them recover, and then we start growing them on the antibiotic-containing media. The only things that grow on that medium are the transformed cells that contain the antibiotic-resistance gene and our gene of interest.
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