Transgenic Research

, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp 239–249 | Cite as

Biosafety of kanamycin-resistant transgenic plants

  • Jan-Peter Nap
  • Jacques Bijvoet
  • Willem J. Stiekema


Kanamycin resistance is one of the most frequently used selection markers for obtaining transgenic plants. The introduction of these transgenic plants into agricultural practice will cause the kanamycin resistance gene and the gene product to be present on a large scale. The desirability of this situation is analysed. The nature, properties and applications of the antibiotic kanamycin are briefly reviewed, as are the mechanisms of kanamycin resistance. It is argued that the gene used for resistance is an excellent choice because of the high substrate specificity of the enzyme encoded. Human or veterinary antibiotic therapies will not be compromised. Also, the physico-chemical characteristics of the antibiotic exclude the existence of selective conditions in the environment. Therefore, a transgenic plant or any other organism that might have acquired the gene will not get any selective advantage because of this gene. Evidence further suggests there is no toxicity or predictable harm of both gene or gene product for human or animal consumption. Full legislative clearance of this transgenic trait is therefore acceptable.


antibiotics kanamycin resistance neomycin risk assessment nutrition veterinary efficacy 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan-Peter Nap
    • 1
  • Jacques Bijvoet
    • 1
  • Willem J. Stiekema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research CPRO-DLOWageningenThe Netherlands

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