Hairy Roots as a Tool for the Functional Analysis of Plant Genes
With its root-inducing (Ri) plasmid, Agrobacterium rhizogenes is a valuable alternative to transfer gene constructs into the genome of plant species which are difficult to stably transform with disarmed strains of Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Composite plants consisting of transformed hairy roots induced on a non-transgenic shoot have been reported in an increasing number of legume and nonlegume plant species. They were first used in the model legumes Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus to study the symbiotic interaction with rhizobia. Since then, composite plants have been shown to be effective to investigate the function of genes involved in mycorrhizal symbiosis, root-nematode and root-pathogen interactions, resistance response of plant roots to parasitic weeds, root development and branching, and the formation of wood. The different methodologies developed to generate composite plants and the applications of co-transformed hairy roots for studying gene function are discussed in this chapter, together with recent opportunities offered by genome editing technologies in hairy roots.
KeywordsAgrobacterium rhizogenes Composite plant Gene functional analysis Genome editing Hairy root
Dr. Chonglu Zhong acknowledges the supports of the Specific Program for National Non-profit Scientific Institutions (CAFYBB2018ZB003) and CAF International Cooperation Innovation Project “Tropical Tree Genetic Resources and Genetic Diversity.” Research conducted at the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding was supported by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun, India. Research conducted in UMR DIADE was supported by the Research Institute for sustainable Development and the University of Montpellier, France.
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