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  • Author or Editor: Schuyler S. Korban x
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Leaf segments of Prunus persica L. (peach) collected from greenhouse-grown plants and from micropropagated shoots were cultured on a basal medium containing half-strength Murashige and Skoog (MS), Staba vitamins, sucrose (30 g/1) and agar (6.5 g/l); medium adjusted to pH 5.6. The influence of 6 different growth regulators at 3 concentrations (5, 10, 15 μM) were investigated using leaf explants from proliferating shoots of 'Elberta Queen' peach. With thidiazuron (TDZ), compact and multiple green calli were obtained; with benzyladenine and zeatin, lower numbers of small sized calli were obtained; with kinetin, no callus development was observed. Among auxin treatments, both Dicamba and 2,4-D resulted in friable white and yellow calli. Most of the calli produced in all treatments were formed along the cut margins of the explants. In an another experiment, leaf explants of' Bellaire' (greenhouse) and `Elberta Queen' (in vitro shoots) were used to determine the influence of a large scale concentration of TDZ (3 to 23 |iM). Explants from greenhouse and in vitro leaves resulted in higher levels of callus development at TDZ concentrations of 8-13 μM. Higher TDZ levels resulted in necrosis of leaf explants. The-influence of different carbon sources on callogenesis was investigated. We observed more green and compact calli with glucose than with sucrose and fructose at 100 mM. The influence of the glucose at 10 different concentrations (30 to 300 mM) was also investigated.

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Phytochelatins (PCs) are heavy metal binding peptides that play important roles in sequestration and detoxification of heavy metals in plants. To develop transgenic plants with increased tolerance and/or accumulation of heavy metals from soil, an Arabidopsis thaliana FLAG–tagged AtPCS1 cDNA encoding phytochelatin synthase (PCS) under the control of a 35S promoter was expressed in Indian mustard (Brassica juncea). Four transgenic Indian mustard lines, designated pc lines, with different levels of AtPCS1 mRNA accumulation and correspondent AtPCS1 protein levels were selected and analyzed for tolerance to cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn). Heavy metal tolerance was assessed by measuring root length of 10-day-old seedlings grown on agar medium supplemented with different concentrations of Cd (0, 100, 150, and 200 μm CdCl2) and Zn (200, 400, 600, and 800 μm ZnCl2). All transgenic lines showed significantly longer roots when grown on a medium supplemented with 100 μm CdCl2. No significant differences were observed between transgenic lines and wild type when plants were grown on higher levels of Cd. This indicated that only partial tolerance to Cd was observed in these transgenic lines. Similarly, partial tolerance for Zn was also observed in these transgenic lines, but up to levels of 400 μm ZnCl2. Expression levels of AtPCS1 protein were not related to tolerance responses for either Cd or Zn stresses in transgenic lines.

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Developing an efficient gene transfer system for apple (Malus ×domestica L.) remains a major objective in genetic engineering efforts of this fruit crop. Transient expression of the uidA gene coding for β-glucuronidase (GUS) and driven by the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter (CaMV35S) has been induced in apple cotyledonary explants of mature seeds by tungsten particle bombardment using the Particle Inflow Gun (PIG). Several factors that affect transient expression of the GUS gene in apple cotyledons were investigated. The gene transfer efficiency was monitored by recording the number of blue spots observed on explants two days following bombardment. Precultivation of cotyledons for 18 hours before bombardment significantly increased the number of blue foci. Of the three different precipitation methods tested including water, 25% PEG, and 60% glycerol, the latter was the most effective for coating DNA onto tungsten particles. Washing DNA-coated tungsten particles with 70% ethanol and resuspending in 100% ethanol significantly enhanced gene delivery to cotyledons. The amount of particles used for each bombardment also influenced GUS expression. About 0.5 mg of particles per shot resulted in the highest number of blue foci. Using larger quantity of particles (i.e., 2 mg) drastically decreased GUS expression probably due to the toxicity of tungsten particles.

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DNA was extracted from leaves of various Malus genotypes and used to screen synthetic decamer oligonucleotide primers. Samples from the following two groups were bulked: 1) seven scab-susceptible apple cultivars, and 2) 15 scab-resistant apple genotypes derived by introgressive hybridization from the previous group of cultivars. A third sample consisted of DNA extracted from Malus floribunda Sieb. clone 821, the original source of apple scab resistance for all genotypes in the second group. A total of 59 primers from kits A, L, and R (Operon Technologies) were screened. Amplified fragments were obtained for 93% of the primers tested, while random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fragments were detected among samples for 76% of the primers. One primer, A15, amplified a unique band in both M. floribunda clone 821 and the bulked scab-resistant sample. This RAPD marker, designated OA15900, identifies an amplified, introgressed fragment that likely corresponds to a region of the genome that may serve as a modifier for the scab resistance gene block V, derived from M. floribunda clone 821.

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“OrchardSim: Design of an Apple Orchard” is a computer simulation program that was developed as a tool for students and new apple growers to understand the process involved in designing an efficient apple orchard. This program was developed on Toolbook software. It explores key elements involved in designing an apple orchard. Users are introduced to these elements and then asked to make selections for each of the following parameters: soil type, cultivar, rootstock, and management system. The goal of the program is to find compatible selections that will result in an appropriate design of a 1-acre orchard. This full-color program uses text, graphics animation, and still pictures to provide the following: introductory and review information about each parameter, opportunities for the user to make a selection for each parameter, and a check for choices made to determine compatibility. Users receive feedback for each specific choice made for each of the parameters throughout the program. This simulation presents an alternative instructional tool, whereby the user plays an active role in the learning process by practicing and reviewing information at one's own pace. OrchardSim provides users with immediate feedback and an excellent opportunity for making high-risk decisions, with no financial loss that otherwise would have been costly if the learning process were pursued in the real orchard.

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Several plant defense genes, including an iris ribosomal-inactivating protein (I-RIP) and a maize β-glucanase (M-GLU) as well as a small antimicrobial peptide (5 kd) from Mirabilisjalapa(Mj-AMP) were separately introduced into tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum) cv. Sweet Chelsea using Agrobacteriumtumefaciens-mediated transformation. Transgenic lines carrying each of the transgenes were confirmed for integration into the tomato genome using Southern blot hybridization. Transcription of I-RIP, M-GLU, and Mj-AMP genes in various transgenic lines was determined using Northern blot analysis. Plants of some transgenic lines were inoculated with a 2 × 104 to 3 × 104 conidial spores/mL suspension of the fungal pathogen Alternariasolani, the causal agent of tomato early blight disease. Several transgenic lines carrying either a M-GLU or Mj-AMP transgene showed a higher level of resistance to early blight than control (nontransgenic) plants. The implications of this approach on developing disease resistance in tomato will be discussed.

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