• Open Access

Transgenesis has less impact on the transcriptome of wheat grain than conventional breeding


* Correspondence (fax +44 (0)1582 763010; e-mail peter.shewry@bbsrc.ac.uk)


Detailed global gene expression profiles have been obtained for a series of transgenic and conventionally bred wheat lines expressing additional genes encoding HMW (high molecular weight) subunits of glutenin, a group of endosperm-specific seed storage proteins known to determine dough strength and therefore bread-making quality. Differences in endosperm and leaf transcriptome profiles between untransformed and derived transgenic lines were consistently extremely small, when analysing plants containing either transgenes only, or also marker genes. Differences observed in gene expression in the endosperm between conventionally bred material were much larger in comparison to differences between transgenic and untransformed lines exhibiting the same complements of gluten subunits. These results suggest that the presence of the transgenes did not significantly alter gene expression and that, at this level of investigation, transgenic plants could be considered substantially equivalent to untransformed parental lines.