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Xiaojian Ye, Susan K. Brown, Ralph Scorza, John Cordts, and John C. Sanford

Physical and biological parameters affecting the efficiency of biolistic transformation of peach were optimized using ß-glucuronidase (GUS) as a reporter gene, such that efficiency of transient GUS expression in peach embryo-derived callus was increased markedly. Transient expression was also obtained in embryonic axes, immature embryos, cotyledons, shoot tips, and leaves of peach. Stable expression of a fusion gene combining neomycin phosphotransferase (NPTII) and ß-glucuronidase activities has been achieved in peach embryo calli. Sixty-five kanamycin-resistant callus lines were obtained from 114 pieces of bombarded calli after 4 months of selection. Nineteen of the 65 putative transformant lines produced shoot-like structures. Seven lines were examined to confirm stable transformation using the colorimetric GUS assay and PCR analysis. All seven lines showed GUS activity. PCR analysis confirmed that, in most of the putative transformants, the chimeric GUS/NPTII gene had been incorporated into the peach genome. The transgenic callus lines were very weakly morphogenic, presumably because the callus was 5 years old and no transgenic shoots developed from this callus. Results of this research demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining stable transgenic peach tissue by biolistic transformation.

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Ann Callahan, Ralph Scorza, Peter Morgens, Seth Mante, John Cordts, and Reuben Cohen

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Ralph Scorza, Laurene Levy, Vern Damsteegt, Luz Marcel Yepes, John Cordts, Ahmed Hadidi, Jerry Slightom, and Dennis Gonsalves

Transgenic plum plants expressing the papaya ringspot virus (PRV) coat protein (CP) were produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of hypocotyl slices. Hypocotyl slices were cocultivated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain C58/Z707 containing the plasmid pGA482GG/CPPRV-4. This plasmid carries the PRVCP gene construct and chimeric NPTII and GUS genes. Shoots were regenerated on Murashige and Skoog salts, vitamins, 2% sucrose, 2.5 μm indolebutyric acid, 7.5 μm thidiazuron, and appropriate antibiotics for selection. Integration of the foreign genes was verified through kanamycin resistance, GUS assays, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Southern blot analyses. Four transgenic clones were identified. Three were vegetatively propagated and graft-inoculated with plum pox virus (PPV)-infected budwood in a quarantine, containment greenhouse. PPV infection was evaluated over a 2- to 4-year period through visual symptoms, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reverse transcriptase PCR assays. While most plants showed signs of infection and systemic spread of PPV within l-6 months, one plant appeared to delay the spread of virus and the appearance of disease symptoms. Virus spread was limited to basal portions of this plant up to 19 months postinoculation, but, after 32 months symptoms were evident and virus was detected throughout the plant. Our results suggest that heterologous protection with PRVCP, while having the potential to delay PPV symptoms and spread throughout plum plants, may not provide an adequate level of long-term resistance.

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Ralph Scorza, Michel Ravelonandro, Ann Callahan, Ioan Zagrai, Jaroslav Polak, Tadeuz Malinowski, Mariano Cambra, Laurene Levy, Vern Damsteegt, Boris Krška, John Cordts, Dennis Gonsalves, and Chris Dardick