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Plant Biotechnol J. 2013 Aug;11(6):649-58. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12084. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Gene use restriction technologies for transgenic plant bioconfinement.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.


The advances of modern plant technologies, especially genetically modified crops, are considered to be a substantial benefit to agriculture and society. However, so-called transgene escape remains and is of environmental and regulatory concern. Genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs) provide a possible solution to prevent transgene dispersal. Although GURTs were originally developed as a way for intellectual property protection (IPP), we believe their maximum benefit could be in the prevention of gene flow, that is, bioconfinement. This review describes the underlying signal transduction and components necessary to implement any GURT system. Furthermore, we review the similarities and differences between IPP- and bioconfinement-oriented GURTs, discuss the GURTs' design for impeding transgene escape and summarize recent advances. Lastly, we go beyond the state of the science to speculate on regulatory and ecological effects of implementing GURTs for bioconfinement.

© 2013 Society for Experimental Biology, Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


embryo sterility; gene flow; male sterility; transgene deletion; transgene escape; transgenic plants

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