Transgenic Research

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 349–360 | Cite as

Somaclonal variation in insect‐resistant transgenic sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid) plants produced by cell electroporation

  • Ariel D. Arencibia
  • Elva R. Carmona
  • Maria T. Cornide
  • Stefano Castiglione
  • José O'Relly
  • Antonio Chinea
  • Pedro Oramas
  • Francesco Sala


A population of 42 transgenic sugarcane ( hybrid, cv. Ja60‐5) clones expressing a truncated cryIA(b) gene from Bacillus thuringiensis was evaluated in field trials under artificial borer (Diatraea saccharalis Fab.) infection. Five clones displaying the highest borer tolerance were selected and analysed with molecular tools (RAPD, AFLP and RAMP) to verify genomic changes. Results of field trials provided evidence both for the expression of the resistance trait and for the occurrence of limited but consistent morphological, physiological and phytopathological variation, as compared with control plants regenerated from dedifferentiated culture without transformation (C1‐control) or with plants that were clonally propagated in the field (C2‐control). The five elite transgenic clones, selected for consistent borer‐resistance and good agronomic traits, were further evaluated in a large scale field trial. It was found that the majority of agronomic and industrial traits were those of the original cv. Ja60‐5, but that a small number of qualitative traits was different. DNA changes were verified in the five selected clones. A total of 51 polymorphic DNA bands (out of the 1237 analysed bands) was identified by extensive AFLP and RAMP analysis, thus showing rare but consistent genomic changes in the transgenic plants, as compared with C1‐ and C2‐control plants. It is proposed that the increased variability verified in transgenic plants by field trials and DNA analysis is essentially correlated with cell growth in the dedifferentiated state during the transformation procedure. The results, which are consistent with those published in the case of other transgenic plant populations, are discussed in the context of selecting approaches to gene transfer that minimize somaclonal variation. This is important especially in cases, such as that of sugarcane, where success of backcrosses to restore the original genotype is made difficult by the complex ploidy state of the plant.

Bacillus thuringiensis Borer disease Saccharum somaclonal variation transgenic sugarcane 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariel D. Arencibia
    • 1
  • Elva R. Carmona
    • 1
  • Maria T. Cornide
    • 1
  • Stefano Castiglione
    • 2
  • José O'Relly
    • 3
  • Antonio Chinea
    • 3
  • Pedro Oramas
    • 1
  • Francesco Sala
    • 4
  1. 1.Plant Division, Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CGEB)HavanaCuba
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MilanoMilano
  3. 3.National Institute for Sugarcane ResearchJovellanosCuba
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of MilanoMilanoItaly

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