Agrobacterium

Definition - What does Agrobacterium mean?

Agrobacterium is a type of gram-negative bacteria that lives naturally in soil. It has the unique ability to transfer its DNA to plants.

Agrobacterium enters a plant from a small wound. Once within the plant, it beings to transfer its DNA to the plant. When the transfer occurs, a plant begins to form a tumor.

The tumor on the plant that forms is frequently located at the junction between the roots and the shoot; however, some forms of agrobacterium cause growths on the plant’s roots to also develop.

MaximumYield explains Agrobacterium

Agrobacterium plays a key role in genetic engineering.The growth-like tumor that forms on a plant from exposure to agrobacterium is often referred to as a gall. The galls are beneficial to the agrobacterium because the bacteria's DNA convinces the plant tissue within the tumor-like gall to create an abundance of opines, which the agrobacterium uses to thrive.

Agrobacterium do not harm or enter all types of plants. Researchers have found that they can remove the harmful gall tumor-inducing genes from the agrobacterium. Modified 'good' genes are then transferred into the agrobacterium DNA.

The agrobacterium's ability to hijack a plant is then used to carry the modified good genes into the plant's system. The modified good genes help a plant develop disease and pest resistance.

Many types of plants, such as beets, cotton, soybeans, corn, rice, bentgrass, wheat, and alfalfa, have been genetically modified to withstand pests and diseases with the help of agrobacterium.

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