Authors: ZAHID ALI, WAJEEHA SAEED, SAADIA NASEEM, FAHEEM AHMAD, AHMED AKREM, NIGHAT YASMEEN, HANS JOERG JACOBSEN
Abstract: In recent years, transgenic approaches have played a significant role in improving traits that help plants overcome abiotic stresses. Combined gene discovery and functional genomics have helped identify diversified mechanisms and gene families, which improved productivity under various abiotic stresses. We report on the genetic stability and persistent morphological features of transgenic pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants harboring the dicistronic vector construct pG0229MASnhx1/luc over five generations. In addition to salt stress tolerance, the transgenic plants showed frost tolerance compared to wild-type (WT) plants. Frost tolerance of AtNHX1 transgenic pea plants was unexpected and needs further investigation. We report morphological and molecular characteristics of transformed plants after long-term storage at 30-50 °C. The transgenic plants were morphologically stable and genetic stability of integrated genes was confirmed prior to and after transfer of plants to a glasshouse. Leaf size, shape, and color, plant height, number of tendrils, flower shape, pod shape, and grains were morphologically similar to the WT counterpart in all transgenic generations. This is the first report showing the genetic stability of transgenic pea plants harboring the salt stress tolerance gene (AtNHX1) from Arabidopsis thaliana in subsequent generations over a period of 6 years.
Keywords: Transgenic pea, Na$^+$/H$^+$ antiporter, morphology, genetic stability, stress tolerance
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