Pyramiding Mn-superoxide dismutase transgenes to ...

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Title Pyramiding Mn-superoxide dismutase transgenes to improve persistence and biomass production in alfalfa
Author(s) Karen Samis, Stephen Bowley, Bryan McKersie
Journal Journal of Experimental Botany
Date 2002
Volume 53
Issue 372
Start page 1343
End page 1350
Abstract Expression of individual superoxide dismutase (SOD) transgenes improves environmental stress tolerance and biomass production in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that synergy exists between transgenic SOD stress-tolerance mechanisms, specifically that the simultaneous expression of two SOD transgenes confers greater benefit than the expression of a single SOD transgene. The hypothesis was tested through an evaluation of an F1 family generated through a sexual cross of a hemizygous Mit-MnSOD plant and a hemizygous Chl-MnSOD-transgenic alfalfa plant which had previously been screened in field trials for improved persistence. Southern analyses revealed that the parents each had single insertion regions of the MnSOD cDNA and the inheritance followed the expected Mendelian ratios. Native PAGE gels and enzyme inhibition assays revealed the activity of the transgenic MnSOD isozymes. F1 progeny containing either the Mit-MnSOD or the Chl-MnSOD transgene had significantly higher storage organ (crown+root) biomass compared to non-transgenic siblings. The joint expression of the transgenes resulted in a numerical increase in total SOD activity. However, F1 progeny containing both transgenes had lower shoot and storage organ biomass compared to siblings having only one or the other transgene, a result that did not support the authors' hypothesis. It was postulated that a promoter with lower expression than 35S may be necessary if closely related transgenes are to be pyramided in the same plant.

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