The necessity of transgenic technology in sustainable production

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Agricultural Science & Engineering, University of Tehran, karaj, Iran

2 Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran


It has been more than half a century that plant geneticists and breeders have been trying to assemble a combination
of genes in crop plants, in order to make them as suitable and productive as possible. Plant transformation technology in
crop plants was first undertakenin the 1980s based on the ability of foreign gene integration into host plant genome and
regeneration of transformed plant cells into whole plants. Soon after, transgenic plants were to be grown by farmers.
Statistics show that farmers have started to cultivate genetically modified plants (GMPs) commercially since 1996.
Between 1996 and 2012, the total surface area of land cultivated with GM crops has increased from 2 million hectares
to more than 170 million hectares in 29 countries. To this extent, some concerns have been raised by ecologists and
consumer organizations in West European countries based on the possibilities of horizontal and vertical gene flow of
antibiotic or herbicide resistance from transgenic plants into human intestinal bacteria and some weeds via outcrossing,
respectively. Due to consumer and ecologist concerns, different approaches have been developed to eliminate marker
(and/or reporter) genes from the nuclear or chloroplast genome after selection. Some of these proposed methods are:
1. Replacing selectable markers with screenable ones.
2. Elimination of marker genes by co-transformartion followed by classic recombination and selection.
3. Excision of marker gene by some site-specific recombinases.
4. Separation of the transgene and selectable marker by transposable elements.
5. Avoiding gene pollution by chloroplasts genetic engineering followed by elimination of selectable marker.


Main Subjects

Anonymous, 2014. Transgenic crops. Available from
Daniell, H. 2002.Molecular strategies for gene containment
in transgenic crops. Nat. Biotech, 20; 581-586.
Darbani, B., A. Eimanifar, C.N. Stewart, Jr.,W.N. Camargo.
2007. Methods to produce marker-free transgenic plants.
Biotechnol. J, 2; 83-90.
Day, A., M. Goldschmidt-Clermont. 2011. The chloroplast
transformation toolbox: selectable markers and marker
removal. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 9; 540-553.
Garcia, M.A., M.A. Altieri. 2005. Transgenic crops:
Implications for biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.
Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 25(4);
Ghareyazie, B., F. Alinia, C.A. Menguito, L.G. Rubia, J.M.
Palmal, E.A. Liwanag, M.B. Cohen, G.S. Khush, J.
Bennett. 1997. Enhanced resistance to two stem borers in
an aromatic rice containing a synthetic cryIA (b) gene.
Mol. Breed, 3; 401-414.
Hare, P., Chua N.H. 2002. Eviction of selectable marker
genes from transgenic plants. Nat. Biotech, 20; 575-580.
James, C., 2013. Global status of commercialized
biotech/GM crops: 2013. ISAAA Brief No. 46. ISAAA:
Ithaca, N.Y.
Maliga, P., 2002. Engineering the plasmid genome of higher
plants. Curr.Opin.Plant. Biol, 5; 164-172.
Park, J.R., I. McFarlane, R.H. Phipps, G. Ceddia. 2011.
The role of transgenic crops in sustainable
development. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 9; 2-21.
Pucta, H., 2003. Marker free transgenic plants.Plant
Cell,Tiss.Org.Cult, 74; 123-134.
Rajib, D., T. Tilling, L. Nita, M. Vikuoli, 2010. Genetically
Modified (GM) Crops lifeline for livestock, a
review.Agric.Rev, 31; 279-285.
Tuteja, N., S. Verma, R.K. Sahoo, S. Raveendar, IN Bheema
Lingeshwara Reddy. 2012. Recent advances in
development of marker-free transgenic plants:
Regulation and biosafety concern. J. Biosci, 37; 167-197.
Vasheghani Farahani, E., M. Tavakol, A. Maghsoodi, 2012.
A report on biotechnology status in Iran with emphasis
on training and man power. Ministry of Science,
Research and Technology.