February 8, 2009

Agrobacterium tumefaciens; Biotech's little helper

The common soil bacteria that causes Crown Gall disease (the formation of tumours) in over 140 species of dicot (2 leaved plants) is a key biotech tool. The Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a vehicle of entry to the DNA of plants. It ability to insert a bit of its genetic material T-DNA (the T meaning transfer) into the genome of the plant has been harnessed to genetically engineer most of the current gmo plants.

What other surprises tag along and what exactly is engineered in?

Agrobacteriums's trick is the only known trans-kingdom DNA transfer.
Many different traits and species have been engineered with agrobacterium tumefaciens conquering the genome.
Now recent finding indicate Agrobacterium DNA in the human genome.

What other experiments have there been with gene transfer to humans? How prevalent is Agrobacterium in the population? Since when? Is it responsible for disease?

Research on Agrobacterium

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