Transgenic Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 465–475 | Cite as

Reduced weed seed shattering by silencing a cultivated rice gene: strategic mitigation for escaped transgenes

  • Huanxin Yan
  • Lei Li
  • Ping Liu
  • Xiaoqi Jiang
  • Lei Wang
  • Jia Fang
  • Zhimin Lin
  • Feng Wang
  • Jun Su
  • Bao-Rong Lu
Original Paper


Transgene flow form a genetically engineered (GE) crop to its wild relatives may result in unwanted environmental consequences. Mitigating transgenes via introducing a gene that is disadvantageous to wild relatives but beneficial to crops, and is tightly-linked with the target transgenes, may provide a promising solution to limit the spread of transgenes in wild/weedy populations. Here we demonstrate a novel system with significantly reduced seed shattering in crop-weed hybrid descendants by partially silenced expression of the seed-shattering gene SH4 in cultivated rice, using artificial microRNA and antisense RNA techniques. Accordingly, fewer seeds were found in the soil of the field plots where transgenic hybrid lineages were grown. However, no differences in productivity-related traits were detected between GE and non-GE cultivated rice. To silence seed-shattering genes provides a useful strategy to reduce the potential environmental impacts caused by transgene flow from commercial GE rice to weedy rice, in addition to the control of weedy rice.


Transgene mitigation Environmental biosafety GE rice Artificial microRNA Antisense RNA Gene expression 



This study was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (31330014 and 31271683) and the National Program of Development of Transgenic New Species of China (2016ZX08011-006).

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11248_2017_16_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huanxin Yan
    • 1
  • Lei Li
    • 1
  • Ping Liu
    • 1
  • Xiaoqi Jiang
    • 1
  • Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Jia Fang
    • 1
  • Zhimin Lin
    • 2
  • Feng Wang
    • 2
  • Jun Su
    • 2
  • Bao-Rong Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity and Ecological Engineering, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Fujian Province Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering for AgricultureFujian Academy of Agricultural SciencesFuzhouChina

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