GENETIC TRANSFORMATION OF THE DIATOMS CYCLOTELLA CRYPTICA AND NAVICULA SAPROPHILA

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ABSTRACT

Two species of diatoms were genetically transformed by introducing plasmid vectors containing the Escherichia coli neomycin phosphotransferase II (nptII)gene. Expression of the bacterial nptII gene in the diatoms was achieved using the putative promoter and terminator sequences from the acetyl-CoA carboxylase gene from the centric diatom Cyclotella cryptica T13L Reimann, Lewin, and Guillard. The vectors were introduced into C. cryptica and the pennate diatom Navicula saprophila NAVIC1 Lange-Bertalot and Bonik by microprojectile bombardment. Putative transformants were selected based on their ability to grow in the presence of the antibiotic G418, and production of the neomycin phosphotransferase protein by the transformed cells was confirmed by western blotting. The foreign DNA integrated into one or more random sites within the genome of the transformed algal cells, often in the form of tandem repeats. This is the first report of reproducible, stable genetic transformation of a chlorophyll c-containing alga.

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