Introduction to the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Organelles

  • Henry Daniell
  • Christine Chase

The fields of organelle biology and plant biotechnology have now been inter-related for a century. Plant organelles have intrigued biologists since their defiance of Mendelian inheritance and their endosymbiont origins became apparent. The first application of organelle biotechnology was the role played by cytoplasmic male sterility in hybrid seed production, a contribution towards the “Green Revolution”. In modern times, plant organelles are again leading the way for the creation of genetically modified crops. On a global scale, 75% of GM crops are engineered for herbicide resistance and most of these herbicides target pathways that reside within plastids. Several thousand proteins are imported into chloroplasts that participate in biosynthesis of fatty acids, amino acids, pigments, nucleotides and numerous metabolic pathways including photosynthesis. Thus, from green revolution to golden rice, plant organelles have played a critical role in revolutionizing agriculture.

This book details not only the basic concepts and current understanding of plant organelle genetics and molecular biology but also focuses on the synergy between basic biology and biotechnology. Forty-four authors from nine countries have contributed 24 chapters, containing 52 figures and 28 tables. Section one on organelle genomes & proteomes discusses molecular features of plastid and mitochondrial genomes, evolutionary origins, somatic and sexual inheritance, proteomics, bioinformatics and functional genomics. Section two on organelle gene expression and signalling discusses transcription, translation, RNA processing, RNA editing, introns and splicing, protein synthesis, proteolysis, import of proteins into chloroplast and mitochondria and regulation of all these processes. Section three on organelle biotechnology discusses the genetic manipulation of organelles by somatic cell genetics, the use of cytoplasmic male sterility for hybrid seed production and the exciting applications of chloroplast and nuclear genetic engineering for biotic/abiotic stress tolerance, improved fatty acid/amino acid biosynthesis, and for the production of biopharmaceuticals, biopolymers and biomaterials.


Cytoplasmic Male Sterility Chloroplast Genome Herbicide Resistance Plant Mitochondrion Hybrid Seed Production 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Daniell
    • 1
  • Christine Chase
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Horticultural Sciences DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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