Recent advances in grain legume biotechnology are reviewed. Emphasis is given on field testing and commercialization of transgenic grain legumes. The absence of variety-independent gene transfer methods for major agronomic species has, until now, limited the usefulness of recombinant DNA techniques to crop improvement programs. Direct DNA transfer techniques into organized and easily regenerable tissue provided the breakthrough to achieve effective and practical gene transfer into important leguminous species. In principle, we are now in the position to introduce any foreign gene into almost all major legumes, in some cases in a variety-independent fashion. This, however, can only be achieved routinely in few laboratories, all located in industrialized countries. A number of the more important of the leguminous crops, particularly those utilized for human consumption are important components of sustainable agricultural production systems in the developing world. We must bridge the gap between industrialized and developing countries before legume biotechnolgy can be utilized effectively for crop improvement, particularly in the developing world. Technology transfer becomes an important issue and links amongst corporate research organizations, academic institutions and international organizations need to be strengthened to avoid duplication of effort and to maximize efficient utilization of limited resources. In this chapter, advantages of the various gene delivery methods that were shown to be useful for specific crops, as well as limitations and problems associated with each crop and gene transfer method will be discussed. In addition, we will focus on specific biotechnology goals targeted for particular crops. Important oilseed and feed species as well as minor but equally important species for sustaining growing populations in developing countries are discussed.
Field Crops Research – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 1997
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