• David D. SongstadEmail author
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 64)


Twenty years have elapsed from the first report of stable transformation of maize. Advances in various free DNA delivery methods and the more recent use of Agrobacterium tumefaciens in maize transformation has led to rapid strides towards increased efficiency and throughput of transgenic plant production. These advances in maize transformation, in conjunction with the discovery of novel genes associated with herbicide resistance and insect tolerance, have led to the widespread adoption of hybrid biotech maize in the commercial marketplace. Since the first commercial release in the 1990s, the past decade has shown that farmers have embraced this technology because of the agronomic, economic and environmental benefits. This chapter highlights the progression of corn biotechnology from its first promise in the form of regeneration of fertile plants from callus cultures in 1975 to global adoption of this technology in 2008.


Transgenic Plant Callus Culture Immature Embryo Microprojectile Bombardment Transgenic Maize Plant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abdul-Baki AA, Saunders JA, Matthews BF, Pittarelli GW (1990) DNA uptake during electroporation of germinating pollen grains. Plant Sci 70:181–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmadabadi M, Ruf S, Bock R (2007) A leaf-based regeneration and transformation system for maize (Zea mays L.0 Zea mays L.) Transgenic Res 16:437–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armstrong CL, Green CE (1985) Establishment and maintenance of friable, embryogenic maize callus and the involvement of L-proline. Planta 164:207–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Armstrong CL, Petersen WL, Bucholz WG, Bowen BA, Sulc SL (1990) Factors affecting PEG-mediated stable transformation of maize protoplasts. Plant Cell Rep 9:335–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Armstrong CL, Green CE, Phillips RL (1991) Development and availability of germplasm with high type II culture formation response. Maize Genet Coop Newsl 65:92–93Google Scholar
  6. Armstrong CL, Songstad DD (1993) Method for transforming monocotyledonous plants. European Patent Application 93870173.7Google Scholar
  7. Armstrong CL, Parker GB, Pershing JC, Brown SM, et al (1995) Field evaluation of european corn borer control in progeny of 173 transgenic corn events expressing an insecticidal protein from Bacillus thuringiensis.Crop Sci 35:550–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Armstrong CL, Rout J (2003) Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation method. US Patent 6,603,061Google Scholar
  9. Baum JA, Bogaert T, Clinton W, Heck GR, Feldmann P, et al (2007) Control of coleopteran insect pests through RNA interference. Nat Biotechnol 25:1322–1326PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brettschneider R, Becker D, Lorz H (1997) Efficient transformation of scutellar tissue of immature maize embryos. Theor Appl Genet 94:737–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brookes G, Barfoot P (2006) GM crops: the first ten years -- global socio-economic and environmental impacts. ISAAA Brief 36. ISAAA: Ithaca, N.Y.Google Scholar
  12. Brookes G, Barfoot P (2008) Focus on yield -- biotech crops: evidence, outcomes and impacts 1996–2006. Available at
  13. Castiglioni P, Warner D, Bensen RJ, Anstrom DC, Harrison J, et al (2008) Bacterial RNA chaperones confer abiotic stress tolerance in plants and improved grain yield in maize under water-limited conditions. Plant Physiol 147:446–455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chang YF (1983) Plant regeneration in vitro from leaf tissues derived from cultured immature embryos of Zea mays L. Plant Cell Rep 2:183–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen YC, Sophia C, Hubmeier M, Tran A, et al (2006) Expression of CP4 EPSPS in microspores and tapetum cells of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is critical for male reproductive development in response to late-stage glyphosate applications. Plant Biotechnol J 4:477–487PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Chourey PS, Zirawski DB (1981) Callus formation from protoplasts of a maize cell culture. Theor Appl Genet 59:341–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chu CC, Wang CC, Sun CS, Hsu C, Yin KC, Chu CY (1975) Establishment of an efficient medium for anther culture of rice through comparative experiments on the nitrogen sources. Sci Sin 16:659–688Google Scholar
  18. Close KR, Ludeman LA (1987) The effect of auxin-like plant growth regulators and osmotic regulation on induction of somatic embryogenesis from elite maize inbreds. Plant Sci 52:81–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Conger BV, Novak FJ, Afza R, Erdelsky K (1987) Somatic embryogenesis from cultured leaf segments of Zea mays. Plant Cell Rep 6:345–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dekeyser RA, Claes B, De Rycke RMU, Habets ME, Van Montagu MC, Caplan AB (1990) Transient gene expression in intact and organized rice tissues. Plant Cell 2:591–602PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Dennehey BK, Petersen WL, Ford-Santino C, Pajeau M, Armstrong CL (1994) Comparison of selective agents for use with the selectable marker gene bar in maize transformation. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 36:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. D'Halluin K, Bonne E, Bossut M, De Beuckeleer M, Leemans J (1992) Transgenic maize plants by tissue electroporation. Plant Cell 4:1495–1505PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Duke SO, Cerdeira AL (2005) Potential environmental impacts of herbicide-resistant crops. Collect Biosaf Rev 2:66–143Google Scholar
  24. Duncan DR, Williams ME, Zehr BE, Widholm JM (1985) The production of callus capable of plant regeneration from immature embryos of numerous Zea mays genotypes. Planta 165:322–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Finer JJ, Vain P, Jones MW, McMullen MD (1992) Development of the particle inflow gun for DNA delivery to plant cells. Plant Cell Rep 11:323–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fraley RT, Rogers SG, Horsch RB, Sanders PR, et al (1983) Expression of bacterial genes in plant cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 80:4803–4807PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frame BR, Drayton PR, Bagnall SV, Lewnau CJ, et al (1994) Production of fertile transgenic maize plants by silicon carbide whisker-mediated transformation. Plant J 6:941–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Frame BR, Shou H, Chikwamba RK, Zhang ZY, et al (2002) Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation of maize embryos using a standard binary vector system. Plant Physiol 129:13–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Frame BR, McMurray JM, Fonger TM, Main ML, et al (2006) Improved Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of three maize inbred lines using MS salts. Plant Cell Rep 25:1024–1034PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fransz PF, Schel JHN (1991) Cytodifferentiation during the development of friable embryogenic callus of maize (Zea mays). Can J Bot 69:26–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fromm ME, Taylor LP, Walbot V (1985) Stable transformation of maize after gene transfer by electroporation. Nature 319:791–793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fromm ME, Morrish F, Armstrong C, Williams R, Thomas J, Klein TM (1990) Inheritance and expression of chimeric genes in the progeny of transgenic maize plants. Bio/Technology 8:833–839PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gianessi LP (2005) Economic and herbicide use impact of glyphosate-resistant crops. Pest Mange Sci 61:241–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gordon-Kamm WJ, Spencer TM, Mangano ML, Adams TR, Daines RJ, et al (1990) Transformation of maize cells and regeneration of fertile transgenic plants. Plant Cell 2:603–618PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Green CE, Phillips RL (1975) Plant regeneration from tissue cultures of maize. Crop Sci 15:417–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Heck GR, Armstrong CL, Astwood JD, Behr CF, et al (2005) Development and characterization of a CP4 EPSPS-based, glyphosate-tolerant maize event. Crop Sci 44:329–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ishida Y, Saito H, Ohta S, Hiei Y, Komari T, Kumashiro T (1996) High efficiency transformation of maize (Zea mays L.) mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Nat Biotechnol 14:745–750PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ishida Y, Saito H, Hiei Y, Komari T (2003) Improved protocol for transformation of maize (Zea mays L.) mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Biotechnol 20:57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ishida YH, Hiei Y, Komari T (2007) Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of maize. Nat Protoc 2:1614–1621PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. James C (2007) Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2007. ISAAA Brief 37. ISAAA, Ithaca, N.Y.Google Scholar
  41. Kaeppler HF Somers DA (1994) DNA delivery into maize cell cultures using silicon carbide fibers. In: Freeling M, Walbot V (eds) The maize handbook. Springer, New York, pp 610–613Google Scholar
  42. Kaeppler HF, Gu W, Somers DA, Rines HW, Cockburn AF (1990) Silicon carbide fiber-mediated DNA delivery into plant cells. Plant Cell Rep 8:415–418Google Scholar
  43. Kaeppler HF, Somers DA, Rines HW, Cockburn AF (1992) Silicon carbide fiber-mediated stable transformation of plant cells. Theor Appl Genet 84:560–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Klein TM, Wolf ED, Wu R, Sanford J (1987) High velocity microprojectiles for delivering nucleic acids into living cells. Nature 327:70–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Klein TM, Gradziel T, Fromm ME, Sanford JC (1988) Factors influencing gene delivery into Zea mays cells by high-velocity microprojectiles. Bio/Technology 6:559–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Klein TM, Kornstein L, Sanford JC, Fromm ME (1989) Genetic transformation of maize cells by particle bombardment. Plant Physiol 91:440–444PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Koziel MG, Beland GL, Bowman C, Carozzi NB, Crenshaw R, et al (1993) Field performance of elite transgenic maize plants expressing an insecticidal protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis. Bio/Technology 11:194-200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Linsmaier E, Skoog F (1965) Organic growth factor requirements of tobacco tissue culture. Physiol Plant 18:100–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lowe KS, Taylor DB, Ryan PL, Patterson KP (1985) Plant regeneration via organogenesis and embryogenesis in the maize inbred line B73. Plant Sci 41:125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lowe K, Bowen B, Hoerster G, Ross M, Bond D, Pierce D, Gordon-Kamm B (1995) Germline transformation of maize following manipulation of chimeric shoot meristems. Bio/Technology 13:677–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Matthews BF, Abdul-Baki AA, Saunders JA (1990) Expression of a foreign gene in electroporated pollen grains of tobacco. Sex Plant Reprod 3:147–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCabe D, Christou P (1993) Direct DNA transfer using electric discharge particle acceleration (ACCELL technology). Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 33:227–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Miller M, Tagliani L, Wang N, Berka B, Bidney D, Zhao ZY (2002) High efficiency transgene segregation in co-transformed maize plants using an Agrobacterium tumefaciens 2 T-DNA binary system. Transgenic Res 11:381–396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Morrish M, Songstad D, Armstrong C, Fromm M (1993) Microprojectile bombardment: a method for the production of transgenic cereal crop plants and the functional analysis of genes. In: Hiatt A (ed) Transgenic plants: fundamentals and applications. Dekker, New York, pp 133–171Google Scholar
  55. Murashige T, Skoog F (1962) A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol Plant 15:473–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nelson DE, Repetti PP, Adams TR, Creelman RA, Wu J, Warner DC, Anstrom DC, et al (2007) Plant nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) B subunits confer drought tolerance and lead to improved maize yields on water limited areas. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:16450–16455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Padgette SR, Re DB, Barry GF, Eichholtz DE, Delannay X, Fuchs RL, Kishore GM, Fraley RT (1996) New weed control opportunities: development of soybeans with a Roundup Ready gene. In: Duke SO (ed) Herbicide-resistant crops. Agricultural, environmental, economic, regulatory, and technical aspects. Lewis, Boca Raton, pp 53–84Google Scholar
  58. Pareddy DR, Petolino JF (1990) Somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration from immature inflorescences of several elite inbreds of maize. Plant Sci 67:211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Potrykus I (1989) Gene transfer to cereals: an assessment. Trends Biotechnol 7:269–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ray DS, Ghosh PD (1990) Somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration from cultured leaf explants of Zea mays. Ann Bot 66:497–500Google Scholar
  61. Rhodes CA, Green CE, Phillips RL (1986) Factors affecting tissue culture initiation from maize tassels. Plant Sci 46:225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rhodes CA, Lowe KS, Ruby KL (1988a) Plant regeneration from protoplasts isolated from embryogenic maize cell cultures. Bio/Technology 6:56–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rhodes CA, Pierce DA, Mettler IJ, Mascarenhas D, Detmer JJ (1988b) Gentically transformed maize plants from protoplasts. Science 240:204–207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ritchie SW, Lui CN, Sellmer JC, Kononowicz H, Hodges TK, Gelvin SB (1993) Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated expression of gusA in maize tissues. Transgenic Res 2:252–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rout JR, Hironaka CM, Conner TW, DeBoer DL, Duncan DR, Fromm ME, Armstrong CL (1996) Agrobacterium-mediated stable genetic transformation of suspension cells of corn (Zea mays L.). Annu Maize Genet Conf 38 (Abstract)Google Scholar
  66. Schenk RU, Hildebrandt AC (1972) Medium and techniques for induction and growth of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plant cell cultures. Can J Bot 50:199–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Shillito RD, Carswell GK, Johnson CM, DiMaio JJ, Harms CT (1989) Regeneration of fertile plants from protoplasts of elite inbred maize. Bio/Technology 7:581–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sidorov V, Gilbertson L, Addae P, Duncan D (2006) Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of seedling-derived maize callus. Plant Cell Rep 25:320–328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Songstad DD, Duncan DR, Widholm JM (1988) Effect of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, silver nitrate, and norbornadiene on plant regeneration from maize callus cultures. Plant Cell Rep 7:262–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Songstad DD, Armstrong CL, Petersen WL (1991) AgNO3 increases type II callus production from immature embryos of maize inbred B73 and its derivatives. Plant Cell Rep 9:699–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Songstad DD, Petersen WL, Armstrong CL (1992) Establishment of friable embryogenic (type II) callus form immature tassels of Zea mays (Poaceae). Am J Bot 79:761–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Songstad DD, Halaka FG, DeBoer DL, Armstrong CL, Hinchee MAW, Santino-Ford CG, Brown SM, Fromm ME, Horsch RB (1993) Transient expression of GUS and anthocyanin constructs in intact maize immature embryos following electroporation. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 33:195–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Songstad DD, Somers DA, Griesbach R (1995) Advances in alternative DNA delivery techniques. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 40:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Songstad DD, Armstrong CL, Hairston B, Petersen WL, Hinchee MAW (1996) Production of transgenic maize plants and progeny by bombardment of Hi-II immature embryos. In Vitro Plant 32:179–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Southgate EM, Davey MR, Power JB, Westcott RJ (1998) A comparison of methods for direct gene transfer tinto maize (Zea mays L.) In Vitro Plant 34:218–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Spencer TM, Gordon-Kamm WJ, Daines RJ, Start WG, Lemaux PG (1990) Bialaphos selection of stable transformants from maize cell culture. Theor Appl Genet 79:625–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Spencer TM, O'Brien JV, Start WG, Adams TR, Gordon-Kamm WJ, Lemaux PG (1992) Segregation of transgenes in maize. Plant Mol Biol 18:201–210PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stringham GR, Ripley VL, Love HK, Mitchell A (2003) Transgenic herbicide tolerant canola -- the Canadian experience. Crop Sci 43:1590–1593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Suprasanna P, Rao KV, Reddy GM (1986) Plant regeneration from glume calli of maize. Theor Appl Genet 72:120–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vain P, Flament P, Soudain P (1989a) Role of ethylene in embryogenic callus initiation and regeneration in Zea mays L. J Plant Physiol 135:537–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vain P, Yean H, Flament P (1989b) Enhancement of production and regeneration of embryogenic type II callus in Zea mays L. by AgNO3. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 18:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Vain P, McMullen MD, Finer JJ (1993) Osmoticum treatment enhances particle-bombardment transient and stable transformation of maize. Plant Cell Rep 12:84–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Walter DA, Vetsch CS, Potts DE, Lundquist RC (1992) Transformation and inheritance of a hygromycin phosphotransferase gene in maize plants. Plant Mol Biol 18:189–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wan Y, Widholm JM, Lemaux PG (1995) Type I callus as a bombardment target for generating fertile transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) Planta 196:7–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wang K, Drayton P, Frame B, Dunwell J, Thompson J (1995) Whisker-mediated plant transformation: An alternative technology. In Vitro Plant 31:101–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wright MS, Launis K, Bowman C, Hill M, Dimaio J, Kramer C, Shillito RD (1996) A rapid visual method to identify transformed plants. In Vitro Plant 32:11–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wright MS, Dawson J, Dunder E, Suttie J, Reed J, Kramer C, Chang Y, Novitzky R, Wang H, Artim-Moore L (2001) Efficient biolistic transformation of maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) using the phosophomannose isomerase gene, pmi, as the selectable marker. Plant Cell Rep 20:429–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zhang S, Williams-Carrier R, Lemaux PG (2002) Transformation of recalcitrant maize elite inbreds using in vitro shoot meristematic cultures induced from germinating seedlings. Plant Cell Rep 21:263–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zhao ZY, Gu W, Cai T, Tagliani L, Hondred D, Bond D, Schroeder S, Rudert M, Pierce D (2001) High throughput genetic transformation mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens in maize. Mol Breed 8:323–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Zhong H, Srinivasan C, Sticklen MB (1992a) In-vitro morphogenesis of corn (Zea mays L.) I. Differentiation of multiple shoot clumps and somatic embryos from shoot tips. Planta 187:483–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zhong H, Srinivasan C, Sticklen MB (1992b) In-vitro morphogenesis of corn (Zea mays L.) II. Differentiation of ear and tassel clusters from cultured shoot apices and immature inflorescences. Planta 187:490–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Zhong H, Sun B, Warkentin D, Zhang S, Wu R, Wu T, Sticklen MB (1996) The competence of maize shoot meristems for integrative transformation and inherited expression of transgenes. Plant Physiol 110:1097–1107PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monsanto C3NSaint LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations