Modifying beta-glucan content of oats through gene transfer

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


    Oat (Avena sativa L.) ranks second, after barley, among the cereal crops cultivated in Finland. As one of the major oat producers, Finland has approximately 20% share of the worldwide oat trade. Finnish oat cultivars are generally well adapted to the humid and cool Nordic growth conditions. Oat is mainly used as feed, but lately the health benefits of oats have created increased interest within the food sector. The health benefits of oats are mainly associated with its beta-glucan contents. Mixed beta-glucan is not metabolised by digestive enzymes, and the main part of it (ca. 60%), the so called soluble fibers, lower the cholesterol levels of blood and balances the glucose and insulin contents of serum after meals. These physiological effects reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases. In order to improve the quality traits of the Finnish oat cultivars better to meet the requirements of the food industry, modern biotechnology is utilized. Our aim is to increase beta-glucan contents of oats through genetic engineering. The ultimate aim is to overexpress plant derived gene or genes coding for beta-glucan synthase in oat. The goal is to elevate the beta-glucan contents of oats to levels not obtainable through the traditional plant breeding methods. So far, efficient cell culture and gene transfer methods for Finnish oat cultivars have been developed. Cell cultures were started from mature embryos and leaf bases. Embryogenic tissue cultures or oat leaf bases were then used as targets for gene transfer. The development of gene transfer methods for oat using particle bombardment was accomplished with marker genes. Transgenic plants were regenerated and rooted on selection media. Transgenic plants were transferred in soil and propagated in greenhouse conditions. The inheritance of transgenes was followed through several generations. The seed set and the overall appearance of transgenic plants has been normal. Furthermore, the germination frequency of the seeds has been good, ranging from 92 % to 100 %.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event2nd Plant Genomics European Meeting & 4th Genomic Arabidopisis Resource Network Meeting - York, United Kingdom
    Duration: 3 Sept 20036 Sept 2003


    Conference2nd Plant Genomics European Meeting & 4th Genomic Arabidopisis Resource Network Meeting
    Abbreviated titlePlant GEMs, GARNet
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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