Molecular Breeding

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 305–327 | Cite as

Particle bombardment and the genetic enhancement of crops: myths and realities

  • Fredy Altpeter
  • Niranjan Baisakh
  • Roger Beachy
  • Ralph Bock
  • Teresa Capell
  • Paul Christou
  • Henry Daniell
  • Karabi Datta
  • Swapan Datta
  • Philip J. Dix
  • Claude Fauquet
  • Ning Huang
  • Ajay Kohli
  • Hans Mooibroek
  • Liz Nicholson
  • Thi  Thanh Nguyen
  • Gregory Nugent
  • Krit Raemakers
  • Andrea Romano
  • David  A. Somers
  • Eva Stoger
  • Nigel Taylor
  • Richard Visser


DNA transfer by particle bombardment makes use of physical processes to achieve the transformation of crop plants. There is no dependence on bacteria, so the limitations inherent in organisms such as Agrobacterium tumefaciens do not apply. The absence of biological constraints, at least until DNA has entered the plant cell, means that particle bombardment is a versatile and effective transformation method, not limited by cell type, species or genotype. There are no intrinsic vector requirements so transgenes of any size and arrangement can be introduced, and multiple gene cotransformation is straightforward. The perceived disadvantages of particle bombardment compared to Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, i.e. the tendency to generate large transgene arrays containing rearranged and broken transgene copies, are not borne out by the recent detailed structural analysis of transgene loci produced by each of the methods. There is also little evidence for major differences in the levels of transgene instability and silencing when these transformation methods are compared in agriculturally important cereals and legumes, and other non-model systems. Indeed, a major advantage of particle bombardment is that the delivered DNA can be manipulated to influence the quality and structure of the resultant transgene loci. This has been demonstrated in recently reported strategies that favor the recovery of transgenic plants containing intact, single-copy integration events, and demonstrating high-level transgene expression. At the current time, particle bombardment is the most efficient way to achieve plastid transformation in plants and is the only method so far used to achieve mitochondrial transformation. In this review, we discuss recent data highlighting the positive impact of particle bombardment on the genetic transformation of plants, focusing on the fate of exogenous DNA, its organization and its expression in the plant cell. We also discuss some of the most important applications of this technology including the deployment of transgenic plants under field conditions.


Crops Genetic engineering Particle bombardment Transformation Transgene expression Transgene structure Transgenic plants 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fredy Altpeter
    • 1
  • Niranjan Baisakh
    • 2
  • Roger Beachy
    • 3
  • Ralph Bock
    • 4
    • 5
  • Teresa Capell
    • 6
  • Paul Christou
    • 6
  • Henry Daniell
    • 7
  • Karabi Datta
    • 2
  • Swapan Datta
    • 2
  • Philip J. Dix
    • 8
  • Claude Fauquet
    • 9
  • Ning Huang
    • 10
  • Ajay Kohli
    • 11
  • Hans Mooibroek
    • 12
  • Liz Nicholson
    • 13
  • Thi  Thanh Nguyen
    • 8
  • Gregory Nugent
    • 14
  • Krit Raemakers
    • 15
  • Andrea Romano
    • 16
  • David  A. Somers
    • 17
  • Eva Stoger
    • 18
  • Nigel Taylor
    • 9
  • Richard Visser
    • 15
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Plant Physiology, Agronomy DepartmentUniversity of Florida – IFASGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and BiochemistryInternational Rice Research InstituteMetro ManilaThe Philippines
  3. 3.Danforth Plant Science CenterSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Institut für Biochemie und Biotechnologie der PflanzenWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterMünsterGermany
  5. 5.Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare PflanzenphysiologieGolmGermany
  6. 6.Department de Produccio Vegetal i Ciencia ForestalUniversitat de LleidaLleidaSpain
  7. 7.Department of Molecular Biology and MicrobiologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  8. 8.Institute of Bioengineering and Agroecology,Department of BiologyNational University of Ireland MaynoothKildareIreland
  9. 9.International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology (ILTAB)Danforth Plant Science CenterSt. LouisUSA
  10. 10.Ventria BioscienceSacramento USA
  11. 11.Institute of Research on Environment and Sustainability (IRES), School of Biology University of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK
  12. 12.Agrotechnology and Food Innovations B.V., Department of BioconversionWageningen University and Research CentrePD WageningenThe Netherlands
  13. 13.John Innes Centre, Norwich Research ParkNorwichUK
  14. 14.Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries Research Victoria, Plant Biotechnology CentreLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia
  15. 15.Laboratory of Plant BreedingWageningen University and Research CentreAJ WageningenThe Netherlands
  16. 16.Research Institute GROW, Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity Hospital of MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  17. 17.Department of Agronomy and Plant GeneticsUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  18. 18.Institute for Molecular BiotechnologyAachenGermany

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