Composite Phaseolus vulgaris plants with transgenic roots as research tool
AbstractLarge seeded grain legumes such as the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) are very important crops with seeds that are major protein source for people in developing
countries, but their yields and improvement lag behind the economically more important cereals. For research purposes, genetic transformation is a powerful tool to obtain valuable information on gene expression and putative gene functions. In addition, through genetic transformation, candidate genes can be evaluated for their potential in agricultural biotechnology applications, such as resistance against biotic stresses. However, it remains difficult to stable genetically transform large seeded grain legumes such as Phaseolus and cowpea using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In this paper a system is described to obtain so-called transgenic composite plants from P. vulgaris. These have a transgenic root system, obtained through Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformation of de-rooted seedlings. Their potentials for studies on important processes in the root system will be discussed.