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Plant Methods. 2006 Nov 2;2:18.

In situ methods to localize transgenes and transcripts in interphase nuclei: a tool for transgenic plant research.

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Plant Cell Biology Laboratory, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, UNL, Av, República, 2781-901 Oeiras, Portugal.


Genetic engineering of commercially important crops has become routine in many laboratories. However, the inability to predict where a transgene will integrate and to efficiently select plants with stable levels of transgenic expression remains a limitation of this technology. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a powerful technique that can be used to visualize transgene integration sites and provide a better understanding of transgene behavior. Studies using FISH to characterize transgene integration have focused primarily on metaphase chromosomes, because the number and position of integration sites on the chromosomes are more easily determined at this stage. However gene (and transgene) expression occurs mainly during interphase. In order to accurately predict the activity of a transgene, it is critical to understand its location and dynamics in the three-dimensional interphase nucleus. We and others have developed in situ methods to visualize transgenes (including single copy genes) and their transcripts during interphase from different tissues and plant species. These techniques reduce the time necessary for characterization of transgene integration by eliminating the need for time-consuming segregation analysis, and extend characterization to the interphase nucleus, thus increasing the likelihood of accurate prediction of transgene activity. Furthermore, this approach is useful for studying nuclear organization and the dynamics of genes and chromatin.

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