The development of robust plant regeneration technology in cereals, dicots and ornamentals that is in turn coupled to a high-frequency DNA transfer technology is reported. Transgenic cereals that include maize, Tripsacum, sorghum, Festuca and Lolium, in addition to dicots that include soybean, cotton and various ornamentals such as petunia, begonia, and geranium have been produced following either somatic embryogenesis or direct organogenesis independent of genotype. Coupled with these regeneration protocols, we have also identified several interesting genes and promoters for incorporation into various crops and ornamentals. In addition, the phenomenon of direct in vitro flowering from cotyledonary nodes in soybean is described. In in vitro flowering, the formation of a plant body is suppressed and the cells of the cotyledonary node produce complete flowers from which fertile seed is recovered. This in vitro flowering technology serves as a complementary tool to chloroplast transformation for developing a new transgenic pollen containment strategy for crop species. Recently, the center has undertaken to screen the expression response of the 24 000 Arabidopsis genes to nitric oxide. This signaling molecule upregulated 342 genes and downregulated 80 genes. The object here was to identify a population of promoters that can be manipulated by using a signaling molecule. In addition, in keeping with the mission of enhancing greenhouse profitability for North West Ohio growers, we cloned a number of genes responsive for disease resistance from ornamentals that play an important role in disease management and abiotic stress. We have constructed a plant transformation vector with CBF3 gene under the rd29A promoter for engineering cold and freezing tolerance in petunia. Leaf discs of Petunia×hybrida v26 were used for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, and 44 hygromycin-resistant T0 plants were obtained. The presence of CBF3 gene was confirmed in all the transgenic plants by PCR and Southern analyses.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4