Data from: A tapetal ablation transgene induces stable male-sterility and slows field growth in Populus
Elorriaga, Estefania et al. (2014), Data from: A tapetal ablation transgene induces stable male-sterility and slows field growth in Populus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0v6f8
The field performance of genetic containment technologies–considered important for certain uses of transgenic trees in forestry–is poorly known. We tested the efficiency of a barnase gene driven by the TA29 tapetum-dominant promoter for influencing growth rate and inducing male sterility in a field trial of transgenic hybrid poplar (Populus tremula × Populus tremuloides). When the growth of 18 transgenic insertion events with the sterility transgene were compared to non-transgenic controls after two growing seasons, they grew 40 % more slowly in stem volume, and all but one transgenic event grew significantly more slowly than the control. In contrast, when we compared the growth of transgenic trees containing four kinds of β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene constructs to non-transgenic trees—all of which had been produced using the same transformation method and poplar clone and grown at the same field site—there were no statistically significant differences in growth after three growing seasons. In 2 years where gross pollen release from catkins was monitored and found to be abundant in the control, no pollen was visible in the transgenic trees; microscopy suggested the cause was tapetal collapse and revealed the presence of a very few normal-sized pollen grains of unknown viability. In two additional years when viable, well-formed pollen was microscopically documented in controls, and no pollen could be observed in any transgenic trees. We conclude that this construct resulted in robust and possibly complete male sterility that was stable over 4 years in the field.