Hairy Roots: An Ideal Platform for Transgenic Plant Production and Other Promising Applications

  • Abdullah B. Makhzoum
  • Pooja Sharma
  • Mark A. Bernards
  • Jocelyne Trémouillaux-Guiller
Part of the Recent Advances in Phytochemistry book series (RAPT, volume 42)


The infection of plants by Agrobacterium rhizogenes results in a “hairy root”phenotype characterized by rapid growth in hormone-free medium, an unusual ageotropism and extensive lateral branching. The pathological rhizogenicity of A. rhizogenes arises from the stable insertion of a region of the A. rhizogenes Ri (root-inducing) plasmid into the plant nuclear genome. This plasmid can be engineered to contain foreign genes, which can also be stably inserted into the host genome. As such, A. rhizogenes represents a viable alternative for the genetic transformation of plant tissue not readily transformed by A. tumefaciens. However, to be effective as a genetic transformation system, the routine regeneration of full plants from hairy root cultures is essential. In this chapter, we report on some important features of hairy roots, describe recent progress in the regeneration of plants from A. rhizogenes-derived hairy roots and provide a summary of selected applications. These include the use of A. rhizogenes as an efficient system to boost rhizogenesis in recalcitrant plant species and to create new plant varieties and the use of hairy root cultures and A. rhizogenes-engineered plants for secondary metabolite production, in phytoremediation and for the production of recombinant proteins (i.e. molecular farming) for the healthcare industry.


Transgenic Plant Somatic Embryo Hairy Root Hairy Root Culture Agrobacterium Rhizogenes 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdullah B. Makhzoum
    • 1
  • Pooja Sharma
    • 1
  • Mark A. Bernards
    • 1
  • Jocelyne Trémouillaux-Guiller
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology and the BiotronThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Université F. RabelaisTours Cedex 1France

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