Preliminary development of a genetic strategy to prevent transgene escape by blocking effective pollen flow from transgenic plants Academic Article uri icon


  • Genetic modification (GM) of plants has great potential in the production of food and industrial compounds, and in molecular pharming. One of the greatest public concerns regarding this technology is effective pollen flow, in which wind- or insect-borne transgenic pollen is able to fertilise either non-GM crops of the same species, or closely related weed species, and lead to viable seed formation. In this paper we describe a novel concept, based on epigenetic inheritance (imprinting) and post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS)/RNA interference (RNAi), designed to prevent transgene escape via pollen flow from transgenic plants. A key advantage of this strategy is that it would allow all seeds from self-pollinated transgenic plants to be harvested and re-sown, without the need for specific treatments, while retaining all of the transgenes present in the parent. Thus, this strategy is not a Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT) and if implemented would not prevent seed saving by end-users.

publication date

  • 2007