Agrobacteria– a soil bacteria that is a plant pathogen in the wild. It works as a natural genetic engineer by invading a plant through wounds and inserting a piece of DNA into the plant’s DNA. The plant will then begin producing the protein encoded by the inserted gene.
Cotyledons– the first leaf or leaves produced by a plant when it sprouts.
Gene– a sequence of DNA that provides the instructions for making a protein.
Growth medium (media)– gel that contains all the nutrients that both plant cells and Agrobacterium need to survive.
Hood– the workspace of a plant transformation specialist. This space is sterile and continually blows sterilized air to keep fungus and bacteria from the air from contaminating the Agrobacterium and plant cultures.
Plasmid– a small circular piece of DNA from bacteria that often contains antibiotic resistance genes. The plasmid in Agrobacterium can be replicated in the bacteria and can ‘send’ a sequence of DNA into a plant cell to be incorporated into the plant’s genome. Therefore, the plasmid is essential for plant transformation using Agrobacterium.
Shoots– portion of the developing seedling above the root system.
Sticky ends– When double stranded DNA is cut unevenly, it leaves an overhang of nucleotides one of the strands. This single stranded area is attracted to a complementary strand of single-stranded DNA and is known as a ‘sticky end.’ These sticky ends are used to incorporate a piece of DNA into a plasmid so it can be transferred by the bacteria.
Transformation– A process by which extra genetic material is inserted into a cell. The two most common methods currently are Agrobacterium or gene gun transformation.