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R. Scorza, T.W. Zimmerman, J.M. Cordts, K.J. Footen and M. Ravelonandro

Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv Wisconsin 38) leaf discs were transformed with the disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA101 carrying the Rol C gene from A. rhizogenes (Oono et al., Jpn. J. Genet. 62:501-505, 1987), NPT II and GUS. Shoots that regenerated on kanamycin-containing medium were confirmed transgenic through GUS assays, Southern analyses and transmission of foreign genes through the sexual cycle. Transgenic plants were as short as half the height of control plants, earlier flowering by up to 35 days, had smaller leaves, smaller seed capsules, fewer seeds, smaller flowers and reduced pollen viability. The number of seed capsules, leaf number and root density were similar between transgenic and control plants. Transgenic clones varied in the expression of the Rol C gene and transgenic plants similar or only slightly different from controls were identified. Transformation with the Rol C gene presents a potentially useful method of genetically modifying horticultural crops, particularly for flowering date, height, and leaf and flower size.

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R. Scorza, T.W. Zimmerman, J.M. Cordts, K.J. Footen and M. Ravelonandro

`Wisconsin 38' tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) leaf discs were transformed with the disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA101 carrying the rolC gene from A. rhizogenes (Oono et al., 1987) and NPT II and GUS genes. Shoots that regenerated on kanamycin-containing medium were confirmed as transgenic through GUS assays, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Southern blot analyses, and transmission of the foreign genes through the sexual cycle. Transgenic plants were as short as half the height of control plants; were earlier flowering by up to 35 days; and had smaller leaves, shorter internodes, smaller seed capsules, fewer seeds, smaller flowers, and reduced pollen viability. The number of seed capsules, leaf number, and specific root length were similar between transgenic and control plants. Transgenic clones varied in the expression of the rolC-induced growth alterations as did the first generation of seedlings from these clones. Such differences suggested the potential for selecting for different levels of expression. Transformation with the rolC gene presents a potentially useful method of genetically modifying horticultural crops, particularly for flowering date, height, and leaf and flower size. Chemical names used: neomycin phosphotransferase (NPTII), β-glucuronidase (GUS).