An update on the progress towards the development of marker-free transgenic plants

Chandrama Prakash Upadhyaya, Akula Nookaraju, Mayank Anand Gururani, Devanshi Chandel Upadhyaya, Doo Hwan Kim, Se Chul Chun, Se Won Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Selection marker genes (SMGs) have been commonly used in genetic transformation of plants for efficient selection of transformed cells, tissue, or regenerated shoots. In the majority of cases, the selection is based on antibiotic or herbicide resistance. The presence of such genes within the environment or in the food supply might pose an unpredictable hazard to the ecosystem and to human health; therefore research has been initiated to develop an efficient marker-free transgenic system. Various techniques have been developed in recent years to generate marker free transgenic plants and to eliminate marker genes from transgenics. These include site-specific recombination, homologous recombination, transposition, transient co-integration of the marker gene, and a co-transformation-segregation approach, but success has been limited to only a few plant species. Transgenic technology could become more reliable with the improvement of existing marker gene removal strategies and the development of novel approaches for plant genome manipulation. This review describes the contemporary strategies deployed to generate marker-free transgenic plants and marker gene removal, the merits and shortcomings of different approaches, and possible directions for future research programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-292
Number of pages16
JournalBotanical Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-safety
  • Intra-chromosomal recombination
  • Marker-free
  • Positive selection
  • Selection marker gene
  • Site-specific recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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