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Genetic engineering of grain and pasture legumes for improved nutritive value

Genetic engineering of grain and pasture legumes for improved nutritive value

Genetica (Dordrecht) 90(2-3): 181-200

This review describes work aimed at the improvement of the nutritive value of grain and forage legumes using gene transfer techniques. Two traits which are amenable to manipulation by genetic engineering have been identified. These are plant protein quality and lignin content. In order to increase the quality of protein provided by the legume grains peas and lupins, we are attempting to introduce into these species chimeric genes encoding a sunflower seed protein rich in the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. These genes, are designed to be expressed only in developing seeds of transgenic host plants. Chimeric genes incorporating a similar protein-coding region, but different transcriptional controls, are being introduced into the forage legumes lucerne and subterranean clover. In this case the genes are highly expressed in the leaves of transformed plants, and modifications have been made to the sunflower seed protein-coding sequences in order to increase the stability of the resultant protein in leaf tissue. Another approach to increasing plant nutritive value is represented by attempts to reduce the content of indigestible lignin in lucerne.

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Accession: 002390843

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 8119592

DOI: 10.1007/bf01435039

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