Gene Silencing in Plants: Transgenes as Targets and Effectors

  • Andreas E. MüllerEmail author
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 64)


Plant transformation is a versatile method to introduce or alter a trait-of-interest through expression of a transgene or through transgene-induced mutation and/or expression changes of endogenes. Transgenes in plants, however, are subject to gene-silencing effects that are an obstacle to stable and heritable expression of transgene-encoded traits. In an exciting twist, natural gene-silencing processes have been harnessed by researchers to achieve highly specific and targeted down-regulation of endogenous or pathogen-derived genes for functional studies, crop protection and crop improvement. Part 1 of this chapter attempts to give an overview of the mechanistic pillars of gene silencing in plants. Part 2 summarizes the factors that may cause unintended silencing of transgene expression, with practical advice on how to minimize the risk of transgene silencing. Part 3 addresses the intentional use of gene silencing for biotechnological applications in transgenic plants, with particular emphasis on RNA interference approaches.


Inverted Repeat Natural Antisense Transcript Cryptic Promoter Chromosomal Integration Site Matrix Attachment Region Element 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Plant Breeding InstituteKielGermany

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