Stability of the MON 810 transgene in maize
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We analysed the DNA variability of the transgene insert and its flanking regions in maize MON 810 commercial varieties. Southern analysis demonstrates that breeding, since the initial transformation event more than 10 years ago, has not resulted in any rearrangements. A detailed analysis on the DNA variability at the nucleotide level, using DNA mismatch endonuclease assays, showed the lack of polymorphisms in the transgene insert. We conclude that the mutation rate of the transgene is not significantly different from that observed in the maize endogenous genes. Six SNPs were observed in the 5′flanking region, corresponding to a Zeon1 retrotransposon long terminal repeat. All six SNPs are more than 500 bp upstream of the point of insertion of the transgene and do not affect the reliability of the established PCR-based transgene detection and quantification methods. The mutation rate of the flanking region is similar to that expected for a maize repetitive sequence. We detected low levels of cytosine methylation in leaves of different transgenic varieties, with no significant differences on comparing different transgenic varieties, and minor differences in cytosine methylation when comparing leaves at different developmental stages. There was also a reduction in cryIAb mRNA accumulation during leaf development.
KeywordsGenetically modified organism MON 810 maize Single nucleotide polymorphisms DNA methylation
This work was funded by the European collaborative project Co-Extra (Co-Existence and Traceability of Genetically Modified Organisms in the European Supply Chain; http://www.coextra.eu/; VI Framework Programme), the Centre CONSOLIDER on Agrigenomics and the Xarxa de Referencia en Biotecnologia of the Generalitat de Catalunya. We thank Drs. Josep M. Casacuberta and Michael A. Phillips for their comments on the manuscript.
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