Plant Transformation

Plant Transformation

Sometimes among all of the tedious protocols and mundane inconclusive data, I forget that I'm doing something amazing and incredibly powerful. There are two methods for introducing new DNA into plant cells: One is to literally shoot it in with a gene gun, and the other is to hijack infectious bacteria that naturally inject their own DNA into the plant genome. These agrobacteria can themselves be engineered to insert only the DNA we want and not the genes that make the plant sick. I love when these technologies require the use of whole, living organisms instead of just purified genes or enzymes, as in agrobcterium transformation of plants, or the assembly in yeast of the Venter Institute's synthetic genome. In arabidopsis this happens by dipping the flowers into a thick slurry of the bacteria mixed with a soapy solution that very easily gets sucked up into the plant cells.

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When you want to outsmart the world, you turn to the facts. And the facts are in the science.

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