Home Publications Tree Improvement and Genetics Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference 24th Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference (1997) Development of Transgenic Yellow-Poplar for Remediation of Mercury Pollution

Development of Transgenic Yellow-Poplar for Remediation of Mercury Pollution

Phytoremediation involves the use of plants to stabilize, reduce or detoxify pollutants, including heavy metals. A number of plants, known as hyperaccumulators, have displayed a tolerance for accumulation of high levels of some heavy metals and have generated considerable interest in their use for soil decontamination. However, hyperaccumulator plant species are typically slow-growing, possess low biomass and probably are of limited utility for phytoremediation. Engineering other plant species with the genes involved in hyperaccumulation may be one option for making use of this ability, but the genetic pathways for hyperaccumulation in plants are somewhat complex. By contrast, bacterial heavy metal resistance genes are assembled in discrete operons of small numbers of genes. The expression of bacterial heavy metal genes in transgenic plants could expedite the development of efficient phytoremediative species. Trees in particular are excellent candidates for engineering with heavy metal detoxification genes for use as phytoremediative crops, due to their large biomass, long lifetimes, and abundance of nonliving, woody tissues.


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Author(s): Scott A. Merkle, Clayton L. Rugh, Richard B. Meagher

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 1997

Section: Contributed Presentations: Extended Abstracts

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