Our goal was to develop efficient regeneration protocols for safflower that could be used in conjunction with Agrobacterium tumefaciens -mediated transformation to introduce genes conferring economically important traits. Direct regeneration of whole plants has been achieved from cotyledon and hypocotyl explants of 30-day-old `Centennial' and `Montola' seedlings. Explants transformed with Ti plasmids containing NPTII and the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene produced kanamycin-resistant calli and shoots testing positive for GUS activity. Current work is incorporating the bar gene into appropriate Ti plasmids that will be used to confer glufosinate herbicide resistance to elite safflower cultivars. An esterase gene from Bacillus subtilis will be introduced to confer resistance to Alternaria carthami leaf spot disease.
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