Application of Systemic Transcriptional Gene Silencing for Plant Breeding
Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing has been observed in eukaryotes across all kingdoms from fungi to mammals. In plants, this phenomenon influences resistance to pathogenic viruses, suppression of transgene expression, and the inactivation of transposable elements. Recent studies have revealed that double-stranded RNA-derived siRNAs are able to induce systemic transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) in graft partners. In particular, when the scion is used as the siRNA donor, the roots exhibit strong systemic TGS, especially the lateral roots. Such gene silencing can be maintained through in vitro regeneration and is heritable. We developed a novel method for transforming plants using this process. The expression of the target gene can be arrested without inserting exogenous DNA into the genome of the target organism. We herein review the recent advances in research related to systemic TGS. We also describe the potential utility of systemic TGS for plant breeding.
KeywordsTranscriptional gene silencing RNA-directed DNA methylation Epigenetics Grafting Genetically modified organism Plant breeding technique
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