Scientists from All-Russia Research Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology
in Moscow reported the first genetically modified einkorn produced.
Domesticated einkorn (Triticum monococcum) is one of the oldest cultivated
cereal crops globally, and its genetic characteristics (small genome size,
low ploidy, high genetic polymorphism) make it a good model for studying the
genomics and proteomics of Triticeae.
Successful genetic modification of einkorn was achieved using a gene gun.
Young tissues of spring einkorn were bombarded with a plasmid containing the
reporter gene GFP (green fluorescent protein) and the selectable bar gene
(bialaphos resistance gene). Gas pressure, microcarrier size and
developmental stage of target tissue were adjusted to attain stable
Results showed that the bombarded einkorn tissues were recalcitrant to
regeneration, but certain modifications of the culture medium have been
shown to increase the production of transgenic plants. In various
experiments, independent transgenic plants were produced at frequencies of
up to 0.6%. Molecular analysis, marker gene expression and herbicide
treatment demonstrated that gfp/bar genes were stably integrated into the
einkorn genome and successfully inherited over several generations. The
transgenes, as dominant loci, segregated in both Mendelian and non-Mendelian
fashion due to multiple insertions. Fertile homozygous T1-T2 populations of
transgenic einkorn that are resistant to herbicides were selected.
The results of the study could be a starting point for the application of
transgenesis and genome editing and advance comparative functional genomics
in einkorn and other cereals.