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Transgenic Res. 2005 Dec;14(6):887-905.

A microarray-based comparative analysis of gene expression profiles during grain development in transgenic and wild type wheat.

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Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Slagelse, Denmark.


Global, comparative gene expression analysis is potentially a very powerful tool in the safety assessment of transgenic plants since it allows for the detection of differences in gene expression patterns between a transgenic line and the mother variety. In the present study, we compared the gene expression profile in developing seeds of wild type wheat and wheat transformed for endosperm-specific expression of an Aspergillus fumigatus phytase. High-level expression of the phytase gene was ensured by codon modification towards the prevalent codon usage of wheat genes and by using the wheat 1DX5HMW glutenin promoter for driving transgene expression. A 9K wheat unigene cDNA microarray was produced from cDNA libraries prepared mainly from developing wheat seed. The arrays were hybridised to flourescently labelled cDNA prepared from developing seeds of the transgenic wheat line and the mother variety, Bobwhite, at three developmental stages. Comparisons and statistical analyses of the gene expression profiles of the transgenic line vs. that of the mother line revealed only slight differences at the three developmental stages. In the few cases where differential expression was indicated by the statistical analysis it was primarily genes that were strongly expressed over a shorter interval of seed development such as genes encoding storage proteins. Accordingly, we interpret these differences in gene expression levels to result from minor asynchrony in seed development between the transgenic line and the mother line. In support of this, real time PCR validation of results from selected genes at the late developmental stage could not confirm differential expression of these genes. We conclude that the expression of the codon-modified A. fumigatus phytase gene in the wheat seed had no significant effects on the overall gene expression patterns in the developing seed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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