The graminaceous monocots, including the economically important cereals, seem to be refractory to infection by Agrobacterium tumefaciens1, a natural gene transfer system that has been successfully exploited for transferring foreign genes into higher plants2-4. Therefore, direct transfer techniques that are potentially applicable to all plant species have been developed using a few dicot5-8 and monocot8-10 species as model systems. One of these techniques, electroporation, uses electrical pulses of high field strength to permeabilize cell membranes 11 reversibly so as to facilitate the transfer of DNA into cells 8,12,13. Electroporation-mediated gene transfer has resulted in stably transformed animal cells12,13 and transient gene expression in monocot and dicot plant cells8. Here we report that electroporation-mediated DNA transfer of a chimaeric gene encoding neomycin phosphotransferase results in stably transformed maize cells that are resistant to kanamycin.
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