Genetic transformation of the American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait., was accomplished using electric discharge particle acceleration. Plasmid DNA containing the genes GUS (β-glucuronidase), NPTII (neomycin phosphotransferase II), and BT (Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki crystal protein) was introduced into stem sections, derived from in vitro cultures, that had been induced to form adventitious buds. The stage of development of these adventitious buds was critical for efficient initial expression. After exposure to electric discharge particle acceleration, stem sections were cultured on a solid-phase bud-inducing medium containing 300 mg kanamycin/liter. In addition, a thin overlay of 300 mg kanamycin/liter in water was added to inhibit growth of nontransformed cells. Within 7 weeks, green shoots emerged amidst kanamycin-inhibited tissue. No escape (nontransformed) shoots were recovered, and 90% of the transformed shoots were shown through PCR and Southern blot analysis to contain all three introduced genes. GUS expression varied markedly among various transformed plants. Preliminary bioassays for efficacy of the BT gene against the feeding of an economically important lepidopteran cranberry pest have shown no consistently effective control. Potential problems with the expression of the BT and GUS genes are discussed
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