The relationship between homozygous and hemizygous transgene expression levels over generations in populations of transgenic rice plants

James, V. A.; Avart, C.; Worland, B.; Snape, J. W.; Vain, P.
March 2002
Theoretical & Applied Genetics;Mar2002, Vol. 104 Issue 4, p553
Academic Journal
Segregating T1, T2 and T3 transgenic rice populations, derived from independent particle-bombardment-mediated transformation events were examined in order to assess the effect of gene dosage on transgene expression levels and stability. The expression level of the unselected β-glucuronidase (gusA) reporter gene was quantified in plants from these populations. The gusA gene dosage was determined by segregation analysis of progeny seedlings at the structural level (by PCR) and at the expression level. For some transformation events a gene dosage effect on transgene expression was observed, leading to higher transgene expression levels in homozygous progeny than in hemizygous progeny or primary transgenic plants. However, in many other transformation events, the homozygous state appears to be disadvantageous, being associated with lower transgene expression levels, gene silencing or counter-selection of homozygous plants across generations. Change of gene dosage is probably one of the key factors influencing transgene expression levels and stability in transgenic rice. This is particularly important when considering molecular genetic studies and crop improvement programmes. The possible influence of matrix attachment regions (MARs) in increasing the likelihood of an additive effect on transgene expression level is discussed.


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