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Keywords:

  • Agrobacterium rhizogenes;
  • hairy root;
  • plant genetic engineering;
  • Ri plasmid;
  • secondary metabolites

Abstract

Agrobacterium rhizogenes Conn. causes hairy root disease in plants. Hairy root-infected A. rhizogenes is characterized by a high growth rate and genetic stability. Hairy root cultures have been proven to be an efficient means of producing secondary metabolites that are normally biosynthesized in roots of differentiated plants. Furthermore, a transgenic root system offers tremendous potential for introducing additional genes along with the Ri plasmid, especially with modified genes, into medicinal plant cells with A. rhizogenes vector systems. The cultures have turned out to be a valuable tool with which to study the biochemical properties and the gene expression profile of metabolic pathways. Moreover, the cultures can be used to elucidate the intermediates and key enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. The present article discusses various applications of hairy root cultures in plant genetic engineering and potential problems associated with them.

(Managing editor: Wei Wang)