Date: 17 Sep 2009

Characterization of a field-grown transgenic pineapple clone containing the genes chitinase, AP24, and bar

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We previously introduced the bar gene, along with chitinase and AP24 genes, into the pineapple genome. The present report focuses on the evaluation of the first vegetative generation of a transgenic clone containing these genes. Three materials were compared: macropropagated controls (non-transformed), micropropagated controls (non-transformed), and micropropagated transformed plants. From each group, 50% of the plants were sprayed with FINALE® 3 mo after the experiment initiation. The characterization was performed after 1 yr of field growth. FINALE® killed all non-transgenic plants. Plants that survived the herbicide application showed 2n = 50 chromosomes in their roots after 1 yr in the field. Micropropagated transformed plants sprayed with FINALE® did not show phenotype differences from micropropagated transformed plants not sprayed with the herbicide. Between the micropropagated transformed plants sprayed with FINALE® and the micropropagated control plants, the following differences were observed: modifications in levels of cell wall-linked, free and total phenolics, and total proteins. Moreover, changes of the fruit mass without crown were also recorded. Between the micropropagated transformed plants sprayed with FINALE® and the macropropagated control plants, levels of chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll pigments, and proteins were different. Furthermore, activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, superoxide dismutase, and glutamine synthetase were dissimilar. The plant height and diameter, and the crown height were also different. Until now, we have evaluated transformed pineapple plants during hardening and field growth. Although some unexpected variations were recorded, we believe they are not relevant enough to justify rejection of transgenesis as an important tool for pineapple genetic improvement.

Editor: W. C. Otoni