Transformation and regeneration of carrot (Daucus carota L.)

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A protocol is presented for the efficient transformation of carrot (Daucus carota L. cv. Nantaise) by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The binary vector contained the marker gene β-glucuronidase (GUS), driven by the 35S promoter of cauliflower mosaic virus, and the nptII gene, which confers kanamycin resistance. Highest T-DNA transfer rates were obtained by co-cultivating bacteria with hypocotyl segments of dark-grown seedlings on solidified B5 medium containing naphthaleneacetic acid and 6-benzylaminopurine. After 2 days, bacterial growth was stopped with antibiotics. Two weeks later, the explants were placed on agar containing the kanamycin derivate geneticin; antibiotic-resistant calli developed during the following 4 weeks. Suspension cultures were obtained from resistant calli and plants regenerated via somatic embryogenesis in liquid culture. The majority of plants were phenotypically normal and, depending on the Agrobacterium strain used, harbored single or multiple copies of the T-DNA. About equal levels of GUS activity were found in different organs of young plants up to 6 weeks after embryogenesis. In leaves of older plants, GUS activity was markedly reduced, whereas the activities in phloem and xylem parenchyma cells of developing tap roots were still high and fairly uniform. Thus, the 35S promoter may be a useful tool to drive the expression of transgenes in developing carrot storage roots.

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