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Biochimie. 2000 Jun-Jul;82(6-7):655-66.

Genetic engineering of the chloroplast.

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Novartis Agribusiness Biotechnology Research, Inc., 3054 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2257, USA.


Transformation of the plastid genome has a number of inherent advantages for the engineering of gene expression in plants. These advantages include: 10-50 times higher transgene expression levels; the absence of gene silencing and position effect variation; the ability to express polycistronic messages from a single promoter; uniparental plastid gene inheritance in most crop plants that prevents pollen transmission of foreign DNA; integration via a homologous recombination process that facilitates targeted gene replacement and precise transgene control; and sequestration of foreign proteins in the organelle which prevents adverse interactions with the cytoplasmic environment. It is now 12 years since the first conclusive demonstration of stable introduction of cloned DNA into the Chlamydomonas chloroplast by the Boynton and Gillham laboratory, and 10 years since the laboratory of Pal Maliga successfully extended these approaches to tobacco. Since then, technical developments in plastid transformation and advances in our understanding of the rules of plastid gene expression have facilitated tremendous progress towards the goal of establishing the chloroplast as a feasible platform for genetic modification of plants.

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