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Evaluation of the Alternative DAAO-Amino Acid Selection System for Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.)

The conventional selection system for apple transformation is based on the selectable marker gene, nptII, encoding antibiotic resistance against kanamycin. We tested an alternative selection system based on the use of D-amino acids using the gene, D-amino acid oxidase 1 (dao1) as the selectable marker, in order to avoid the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in the resulting transgenic apple plants. In addition, dao1 allowed the selection as well as the elimination of dao1-transgenic plants, based on differences in the toxicity of different D-amino acids. Regeneration experiments using apple leaf explants revealed that 2 mM D-serine or D-alanine inhibited shoot regeneration. We performed transformation experiments using the apple cultivars ‘Gala’, ‘Holsteiner Cox’, and a progeny of the apple cultivar ‘Pinova’, and the vector p35S::dao1-intron, containing the dao1 and nptII selectable marker genes. Several shoots regenerated successfully on selection media containing various concentrations of D-serine or D-alanine, but transgenic shoots were not obtained. However, three dao1/nptII transgenic apple lines were obtained after selection with kanamycin, indicating that the vector was functional. Furthermore, we showed that 20 mM D-serine could be used to select dao1-transgenic shoots from non-transgenic in vitro shoots, whereas 13 mM D-isoleucine had the opposite effect.

Hättasch, C., H. Flachowsky, M.-V. Hanke. 2009. Evaluation of the Alternative DAAO-Amino Acid Selection System for Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, ISAFRUIT Special Issue: 188-194.