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Gene Gun (who says its a plant thing?)

Nigel Walker nigel at notmendel.Berkeley.EDU
Sat May 23 12:40:45 EST 1992


mrlee at milton.u.washington.edu (Mark Lee) writes:

->I would like to hear anyone's experience with "gene guns",
->the apparatus that mechanically forces the DNA of
->one species into another using little metal "bullets".
->About the only work I am aware of in this area is directed
->towards making plants more resistant to herbicides and
->more frost resistant. Is anyone using this technology
->to improve the nutritional value of crops or to make
->exotic new foods.

The Gene Gun has most certainly become the weapon of choice for folks trying
to transform maize and barley (wheat too?), but it is hardly a "one kingdom
tool".  There are reports of transformation coming in from all five kingdoms.

The following references might be usefull to those who want to know what the
gunslingers of today are up to:

 1. (MEDICAL result) 
    Johnston SA.
      Biolistic transformation: microbes to mice.
      Nature, 1990 Aug 23, 346(6286):776-7.
      Unique ID:  90356130.

 2. (MEDICAL result) 
    Spencer TM; O'Brien JV; Start WG; Adams TR; Gordon-Kamm WJ; Lemaux PG.
      Segregation of transgenes in maize.
      Plant Molecular Biology, 1992 Jan, 18(2):201-10.
      Unique ID:  92119243.
      Abstract available; type D 2 LIST SHORT ABS.

 3. (MEDICAL result) 
    Armaleo D; Ye GN; Klein TM; Shark KB; Sanford JC; Johnston SA.
      Biolistic nuclear transformation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other
    fungi.
      Current Genetics, 1990 Feb, 17(2):97-103.
      Unique ID:  90213543.
      Abstract available; type D 3 LIST SHORT ABS.

 4. (CC Article result) 
    WATTS S.
      DNA GUN ON TARGET FOR GENE THERAPY.
      Pub type:  Editorial.
      NEW SCIENTIST, 1990 SEP 15, V127 N1734:34-34.

 5. (Newspaper Article result) 
    Herman, Robin.
      BBs fired by 'gene gun' cause immune response. (pellets carrying human
    genes shot into cells of living animals)
      Washington Post v115 (Tue, March 24, 1992):WH5, col 2, 9 col in.

These refs are more to demonstrate the breadth of the technique than anything
else.

As to what PLANT BIOLOGISTS are doing with the gun... I'd say: just about
everything! 

BTW: I think making plants more resistant to herbicides ranks right up there
     with building nuclear power plants on KNOWN faults. ( steps off soapbox )  

-nigel



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