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GM Rhizobium strains as tool for assessing risk of deliberate release of microrganisms into the environment - RG0104

1. To monitor the survival and spread of genetically engineered micro-organisms into the environment OBJECTIVE(S) To monitor the survival and spread of genetically engineered micro-organisms in natural environments: Rhizobium will be used as am model organism and strains wil l be constructed which contain the unique bioluminescence reporter gene which should make possible the direct enumeration of engineered strains in the soil. Furthermore, the extent to which alien genes are transferred to the indi geneous population will be monitored. The bioluminescence (lux) gene will be inserted into either the chromosome or one of the large plasmids of Rhizobium. This will provide a basis for determining which location confers the greatest stability in relation to transfer of alien genes to the population. Strains of R.leguminosarum bv. trifolii have been identified which are known to contrast in the ability to compete with the indigenous Rhizobium population. The lux gene will be introduced to two such differing strains in order to study the effect of competitiveness on the survival and spread of alien genes in the soil. Prior to releasing Rhizobium strains the indigenous Rhizobium soil population will be characterised so that changes taking place as a consequence of releasing engineered strains can be assessed. The indigenous Rhizobium soil population will be character ised by plasmid profiles restriction fragment length polymorphism and symbiotic effectiveness against host 'tester'genotypes. Isolation of indigenous rhizobia from soil will be via the root nodules of "trap" plants. In order to widen the genetic base of the sampling methods a range of relevant crop genera including Trifolium, Pisium and Vicia species will be used. A collaboration with Dr Stephen P Harrison, The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, has been initiated for this part of the project.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1990

To: 1994

Cost: £211,064
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Fields of Study
Biotechnology and GMOs