Utilization of the bar gene to develop an efficient method for detection of the pollen-mediated gene flow in Chinese cabbage ( Brassica rapa spp. pekinensis )
To develop an efficient screening method for detection of the transgene in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa spp. pekinensis) utilizing Basta spray, optimal conditions for Basta application were examined in this study. Two transgenic Chinese cabbage lines were obtained through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and used as transgenic positive controls in the Basta screening experiment. Differential concentrations of glufosinate-ammonium were sprayed into three different growth stages of 12 commercial Chinese cabbage cultivars. The results showed that no plants could survive higher than 0.05% glufosinate-ammonium, and plants at the 2–3 leaf stage were most vulnerable to glufosinate-ammonium. On the other hand, no damage was observed in the transgenic control plants. Reliability of the Basta spray method was proven by showing perfect co-segregation of the tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium and the presence of the bar gene in T1 segregating populations of the transgenic lines, as revealed by both PCR and Southern blot analyses. Using the developed Basta screening method, we tried to investigate the transgene flow through pollen dispersal, but failed to detect any transgene-containing non-transgenic Chinese cabbages whose parents had been planted adjacent to transgenic Chinese cabbages in field conditions. However, the transgene was successfully detected using Basta spray from the non-transgenic plants bearing the transgene introduced by hand-pollination. Since the Basta spray method developed in this study is easy to apply and economical, it will be a valuable tool for understanding the mechanism of gene flow through pollen transfer and for establishing a biosafety test protocol for genetically modified (GM) Chinese cabbage cultivars.