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Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757


TIZAOUI, Kalthoum  and  KCHOUK, Mohamed Elyes. Genetic approaches for studying transgene inheritance and genetic recombination in three successive generations of transformed tobacco. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.3, pp.640-649. ISSN 1415-4757.

Transgene integration into plant genomes is a complex process accompanied by molecular rearrangements. Classic methods that are normally used to study transgenic population genetics are generally inadequate for assessing such integration. Two major characteristics of transgenic populations are that a transgenic genome may harbor many copies of the transgene and that molecular rearrangements can create an unstable transgenic locus. In this work, we examined the segregation of T1, T2 and T3 transgenic tobacco progenies. Since transfer DNA (T-DNA) contains the NptII selectable marker gene that confers resistance to kanamycin, we used this characteristic in developing a method to estimate the number of functional inserts integrated into the genome. This approach was based on calculation of the theoretical segregation ratios in successive generations. Mendelian ratios of 3:1, 15:1 and 63:1 were confirmed for five transformation events whereas six transformation events yielded non-segregating progenies, a finding that raised questions about causal factors. A second approach based on a maximum likelihood method was performed to estimate recombination frequencies between linked inserts. Recombination estimates varied among transformation events and over generations. Some transgenic loci were unstable and evolved continuously to segregate independently in the T3 generation. Recombination and amplification of the transgene and filler DNA yielded additional transformed genotypes.

Keywords : copy number variation; gene rearrangements; genetic inheritance; transgenic.

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