Evaluation of pollen dispersal and cross pollination using transgenic grapevine plants
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Federal Research Centre for
Cultivated Plants, Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof, 76833 Siebeldingen, Germany
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public debate about the possible risk of genetically modified plants often concerns putative effects of pollen dispersal and out-crossing into conventional fields in the neighborhood of transgenic plants. Though Vitis vinifera (grapevine) is generally considered to be self-pollinating, it cannot be excluded that vertical gene transfer might occur. For monitoring pollen flow and out-crossing events, transgenic plants of Vitis vinifera cv. `Dornfelder' harboring the gus-int gene were planted in the center of a field experiment in Southwest Germany in 1999. The rate of pollen dispersal was determined by pollen traps placed at radial distances of 5–150 m from the pollen-donor plants, at 1.00 and 1.80 m above ground. Transgenic pollen was evaluated by GUS staining, and could clearly be distinguished from pollen originating from non-transgenic grapevine plants. Transgenic pollen was observed up to 150 m from the pollen donors. The rate of out-crossing was determined by sampling seeds of selected grapevines at a distance of 10 m to the pollen source, and of a sector at 20 m distance, respectively, followed by GUS analysis of seedlings. The average cross-pollination rate during the experiment (2002–2004) was 2.7% at a distance of 20 m. The results of this first pilot study present a good base for further assessment under the conditions of normal viticulture practice.
Key words: cross pollination / field release / genetically modified plants / grapevine / pollen dispersal / Vitis vinifera
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2009