Spontaneous capture of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) chloroplasts by wild B. rapa: implications for the use of chloroplast transformation for biocontainment

N. Haider, Michael J. Wilkinson, Joel Allainguillaume

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23 Citations (SciVal)


Environmental concerns over the cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops largely centre on the ecological consequences following gene flow to wild relatives. One attractive solution is to deploy biocontainment measures that prevent hybridization. Chloroplast transformation is the most advanced biocontainment method but is compromised by chloroplast capture (hybridization through the maternal lineage). To date, however, there is a paucity of information on the frequency of chloroplast capture in the wild. Oilseed rape (Brassica napus, AACC) frequently hybridises with wild Brassica rapa (AA, as paternal parent) and yields B. rapa-like introgressed individuals after only two generations. In this study we used chloroplast CAPS markers that differentiate between the two species to survey wild and weedy populations of B. rapa for the capture of B. napus chloroplasts. A total of 464 B. rapa plants belonging to 14 populations growing either in close proximity to B. napus (i.e. sympatric 1 km) were assessed for chloroplast capture using PCR (trnL-F) and CAPS (trnT-L-Xba I) markers. The screen revealed that two sympatric B. rapa populations included 53 plants that possessed the chloroplast of B. napus. In order to discount these B. rapa plants as F1 crop-wild hybrids, we used a C-genome-specific marker and found that 45 out of 53 plants lacked the C-genome and so were at least second generation introgressants. The most plausible explanation is that these individuals represent multiple cases of chloroplast capture following introgressive hybridisation through the female germ line from the crop. The abundance of such plants in sympatric sites thereby questions whether the use of chloroplast transformation would provide a sufficient biocontainment for GM oilseed rape in the United Kingdom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2009


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