Glyphosate as a selective agent for the production of fertile transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) plants

Arlene R. Howe, Charles S. Gasser, Sherri M. Brown, Stephen R. Padgette, Jesse Hart, Gregory B. Parker, Michael E. Fromm, Charles L. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Efficient and reproducible selection of transgenic cells is an essential component of a good transformation system. In this paper, we describe the development of glyphosate as a selective agent for the recovery of transgenic embryogenic corn callus and the production of plants tolerant to Roundup® herbicide. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® herbicide inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) and thus prevents the synthesis of chorismate-derived aromatic amino acids and secondary metabolites in plants. A maize EPSPS gene has been cloned, mutated to produce a modified enzyme resistant to inhibition by glyphosate, and engineered into a monocot expression vector. In addition, a bacterial gene which degrades glyphosate (glyphosate oxidoreductase, or GOX) was also cloned into a similar expression vector. Stably transformed callus has been reproducibly recovered following introduction of mutant maize EPSPS and GOX genes into tissue culture cells by particle bombardment and selection on glyphosate-containing medium. Plants have been regenerated both on and off glyphosate selection medium, and are tolerant to normally lethal levels of Roundup®. Excellent seed set has been obtained from both self and outcross pollinations from both sprayed and unsprayed regenerated plants. Progeny tests have demonstrated normal Mendelian transmission and tolerance to the herbicide for some of the transgenic events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Breeding
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase
  • Glyphosate
  • Maize transformation
  • Selectable marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science


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