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Nature. 2005 Feb 10;433(7026):629-33.

Gene transfer to plants by diverse species of bacteria.

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CAMBIA, Research Centre of Charles Sturt University, G.P.O. Box 3200, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Agrobacterium is widely considered to be the only bacterial genus capable of transferring genes to plants. When suitably modified, Agrobacterium has become the most effective vector for gene transfer in plant biotechnology. However, the complexity of the patent landscape has created both real and perceived obstacles to the effective use of this technology for agricultural improvements by many public and private organizations worldwide. Here we show that several species of bacteria outside the Agrobacterium genus can be modified to mediate gene transfer to a number of diverse plants. These plant-associated symbiotic bacteria were made competent for gene transfer by acquisition of both a disarmed Ti plasmid and a suitable binary vector. This alternative to Agrobacterium-mediated technology for crop improvement, in addition to affording a versatile 'open source' platform for plant biotechnology, may lead to new uses of natural bacteria-plant interactions to achieve plant transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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