As a predicted result of increasing population worldwide, improvements in the breeding strategies in agriculture are valued as mandatory. The natural resources are limited, and due to the natural disasters like sudden and severe abiotic stress factors, excessive floods, etc., the production capacities are changed per year. In contrast, the yield potential should be significantly increased to cope with this problem. Despite rich genetic diversity, manipulation of the cultivars through alternative techniques such as mutation breeding becomes important. Radiation is proven as an effective method as a unique method to increase the genetic variability of the species. Gamma radiation is the most preferred physical mutagen by plant breeders. Several mutant varieties have been successfully introduced into commercial production by this method. Combinational use of in vitro tissue culture and mutation breeding methods makes a significant contribution to improve new crops. Large populations and the target mutations can be easily screened and identified by new methods. Marker assisted selection and advanced techniques such as microarray, next generation sequencing methods to detect a specific mutant in a large population will help to the plant breeders to use ionizing radiation efficiently in breeding programs.
Part of the book: New Insights on Gamma Rays
In last decades, plants were increasingly subjected to multiple environmental abiotic stress factors as never before due to their stationary nature. Excess urbanization following the intense industrial applications introduced combinations of abiotic stresses as heat, drought, salinity, heavy metals etc. to plants in various intensities. Technological advancements brought novel biotechnological tools to the abiotic stress tolerance area as an alternative to time and money consuming traditional crop breeding activities as well as they brought vast majority of the problem themselves. Discoveries of single gene (as osmoprotectant, detoxyfying enzyme, transporter protein genes etc.) and multi gene (biomolecule synthesis, heat shock protein, regulatory transcription factor and signal transduction genes etc.) targets through functional genomic approaches identified abiotic stress responsive genes through EST based cDNA micro and macro arrays. In nowadays, genetic engineering and genome editing tools are present to transfer genes among different species and modify these target genes in site specific, even single nuclotide specific manner. This present chapter will evaluate genomic engineering approaches and applications targeting these abiotic stress tolerance responsive mechanisms as well as future prospects of genome editing applications in this field.
Part of the book: Abiotic Stress in Plants
Infectious diseases threatened humankind countless times through history, when knowledge on microorganisms was absent and medical capabilities were limited. Pandemics and outbreaks caused death of millions, brought empires to their knees and even wiped some ancient civilizations. In “modern” days, despite of improved medical application, sanitary precautions and effective medicines, infectious diseases are still cause of more than 54% of total mortality in developing countries. Millions of people are protected from the infectious diseases annually as a result of mass immunization campaigns. Nevertheless, novel diseases as COVID-19, MERS-CoV, avian influenza, Ebola, Zika and possible future infections require dynamic vaccine research and investment. Along with all the advantages of vaccines, there are several limitations regarding cost, biosafety/biosecurity, storage, distribution, degradation topics. Plant-based vaccine production for humans and animals has been under serious consideration to overcome some of these limitations. Nowadays, plant biotechnology brought new insight to vaccines research through gene transfer strategies to plants and improvements in amount, isolation and purification and addition of adjuvant for production of recombinant vaccine antigens in plants. Recombinant vaccines can undeniably offer us new standards and legal regulations to be introduced for the development, approval, authorization, licensing, distribution and marketing of such vaccines. The aim of this chapter is to exploit uses, methods and advantages of recombinant DNA technology and novel plant biotechnology applications for plant-based vaccine research in respect to existing infectious diseases.
Part of the book: Botany
The number of approaches related to recombinant protein production in plants is increasing rapidly day by day. Plant-based expression offers a safe, cost-effective, scalable, and potentially limitless way to rapidly produce recombinant proteins. Plant systems, which have significant advantages over animal and yeast recombinant protein production systems, are particularly promising for the large-scale production of antibodies and therapeutic proteins. Molecular pharming with transgenic plant systems become prominent among other production systems with its low cost, absence of human or animal pathogen contaminants, and the ability to use post-translational modifications such as glycosylation. The ability to produce recombinant pharmaceutical proteins in plant seeds, plant cells and various plant tissues such as hairy roots and leaves, through the stable transformation of the nuclear genome or transient expression, allows for the establishment of different production strategies. In particular, the rapid production of candidate proteins by transient expression, which eliminates the need for lengthy transformation and regeneration procedures, has made plants an attractive bioreactor for the production of pharmaceutical components. This chapter aimsto exhibit the current plant biotechnology applications and transgenic strategies used for the production of recombinant antibodies, antigens, therapeutic proteins and enzymes, which are used especially in the treatment of various diseases.
Part of the book: Genetically Modified Plants and Beyond
Soybean, which has many foods, feed, and industrial raw material products, has relatively limited genetic diversity due to the domestication practices which mainly focused on higher yield for many centuries. Besides, cleistogamy in soybean plant reduces genetic variations even further. Improving genetic variation in soybean is crucial for breeding applications to improve traits such as higher yield, early maturity, herbicide, and pest resistance, lodging and shattering resistance, seed quality and composition, abiotic stress tolerance and more. In the 21st century, there are numerous alternatives from conventional breeding to biotechnological approaches. Among these, mutation breeding is still a major method to produce new alleles and desired traits within the crop genomes. Physical and chemical mutagen protocols are still improving and mutation breeding proves its value to be fast, flexible, and viable in crop sciences. In the verge of revolutionary genome editing era, induced mutagenesis passed important cross-roads successfully with the help of emerging supportive NGS based-methods and non-destructive screening approaches that reduce the time-consuming labor-intensive selection practices of mutation breeding. Induced mutagenesis will retain its place in crop science in the next decades, especially for plants such as soybean for which cross breeding is limited or not applicable.
Part of the book: Soybean