Herbicide Resistance in Transgenic Plants Expressing a Bacterial Detoxification Gene

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Science  21 Oct 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4877, pp. 419-423
DOI: 10.1126/science.242.4877.419


The herbicide bromoxynil (3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile) is a photosynthetic (photosystem II) inhibitor in plants. A gene, bxn, encoding a specific nitrilase that converts bromoxynil to its primary metabolite 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzoic acid, was cloned from the natural soil bacterium Klebsiella ozaenae. For expression in plants, the bxn gene was placed under control of a light-regulated tissue-specific promoter, the ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase small subunit. Transfer of this chimeric gene and expression of a bromoxynil-specific nitrilase in leaves of transgenic tobacco plants conferred resistance to high levels of a commercial formulation of bromoxynil. The results presented indicate a successful approach to obtain herbicide resistance by introducing a novel catabolic detoxification gene in plants.

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