Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

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jturner
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Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46663Post jturner
Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:35 pm

This article describes Monsanto's use of genetic markers for vegetable breeding. Here is a quote from the article.

"Monsanto said it has identified about 5,000 genetic markers in peppers, more than 4,000 in tomatoes and thousands more in melons, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers and beans. The company plans to identify more vegetable markers this year than in the past 20 years combined."

An advantage of using genetic markers is that you can test seedlings to see whether they have the genes you want them to have without growing them to maturity and testing them in different environments.
Jim / Monterey Bay, California / USDA zone 9b / Sunset zone 17

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46664Post kim rupert
Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:07 pm

The greater advantage to Monsanto is easier identification of patent infringement making suing you for having insect created hybrids with their patented genes easier to file.

Don
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46665Post Don
Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:23 pm

>> The greater advantage to Monsanto is easier identification of patent infringement

Genetic engineers tag their work with signature markers. Marker assisted breeding is a different thing entirely. In fact, a 2010 paper by Spiller et al summarizes the results for roses - about a thousand markers identified so far.

Of course, with whole genome sequencing now down to a $900 thumb-drive size device you have to wonder how long it will take to sequence the entire rose genome. The chocolate industry has already published the genome for cocoa.
What doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

Chicago zone 5a
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46666Post Chicago zone 5a
Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:29 pm

There's money and control involved in the process. I didn't understand it until I watched a few documentary films about many seed companies are swallowed up by Monsanto... I'm paranoid that it's illegal for tomatoes to sown themselves in my garden, I have to kill any volunteer babies plant, and buy seeds legally made by Monsanto. The planned future is more control over what seeds people can use.

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46668Post kim rupert
Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:51 pm

Yup, the whole thing immediately brought to mind the Monsanto v. Percey Schmeiser suit. Schmeiser

jriekstins
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46673Post jriekstins
Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:37 pm

Chicago and Kim,

You got that right! And it really doesn't matter what Monsanto says their purposes are.
]Jackie, SoCal., zone 9b,coastal foothills

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46675Post kim rupert
Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:48 pm

I'm sorry to say, but I agree with you Jackie. We are forming the greatest government and nation a corporation's money can buy.

Don
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46676Post Don
Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:13 pm

I think you all are missing an important point: lowering of the cost barrier combined with expanding marker libraries means that marker assisted breeding of roses is soon going to be something we can do ourselves.

It would be reasonable to start thinking of ways that the RHA, as an institution, could help members obtain access the technology. Cooperative efforts with research labs comes to mind, possibly even with corporate labs like Novaflora or even (gasp!) Monsanto.

If either of those companies offered me a chance to partner on a breeding program targeting the big three rose pests I would consider it very seriously.
What doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

JStover
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46684Post JStover
Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:45 am

Monsanto is now getting into breeding bees. I read on a bee forum a couple of months ago that they hired one of the top Florida state researchers to help the company "study" the insect. Can you imagine the impact if they can corner the pollination business.

I wonder which politicians are getting their pockets lined.
Jeff Stover
Monterey County, California
USDA Zone 9

jriekstins
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46693Post jriekstins
Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:40 pm

Maybe they have something on RoundUp ready bees, or Imidicloprid resistant bees. Imagine if they corner the market by doing that!
]Jackie, SoCal., zone 9b,coastal foothills

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46695Post kim rupert
Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:17 pm

That is just too freaking scary! Bees (potentially Africanized) resistant to insecticides? Before long, it will be legal to force you to buy their herbicide resistant seed; their pesticide resistant bees and their herbicides and pesticides to keep the whole thing running. With recent Supreme Court rulings, corporations ARE "people". Their money and its contribution ARE their "free speech". Sometimes, I'm glad I am as old as I am, and perhaps, sometimes wish I was even older!

jriekstins
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46699Post jriekstins
Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:51 pm

The 'peopleocised' corporations really don't have to worry about side effects from GMO s or bee stings, or cancer, or pretty much anything else that affects us mortal people, now do they?
]Jackie, SoCal., zone 9b,coastal foothills

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46705Post kim rupert
Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:47 pm

With enough money, it's easy to pay others to handle the downsides of pretty much anything. You create a monster, you pay someone as little as possible to take care of it for you. As we've seen time after time, there are few to no consequences for those who can afford it, unless they are being made an example of.

dbyrne
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46742Post dbyrne
Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:50 pm

The usefulness of molecular markers can be tremendous but it does take a bit of backgound research to develop the markers and determine which ones are associated with the particular trait of interest. It can be a good tool in understanding your trait, selecting the proper parents for your crosses, and selecting seedlings with a specific gene...but the final test is always the field evaluation.

I am involved in the RosBREED - marker enabled breeding project of the rose family which has focussed on finding markers associated with quality traits of fruit crops (apple, cherry, strawberry and peach).They have an excellent web site with alot of information about the activities. I suggest you read their newsletters for updates of progress.

I have also tried to get funding through this same program to do similar work with the rose but have yet to get funded. I firmly believe that as marker technology gets less expensive, this tool will be useful to small breeders through a commercial service with background work being done by public or private institutions. Our research group here at Texas A&M University has collaborated with our European (Germany, France, Belgium, Holland) and Israeli colleagues for over a decade in creating maps - both diploid and tetraploid - of the rose. These maps took years to create... but now with the improved sequencing mathodology, we are getting to the point that a map with 1,000 markers can be created within a couple of months! Although still not there for the rose - for other crops it can be done. That said, it is still a complicated process which I do in collaboration with colleagues who are molecular geneticists.

One other point that is important is that with improved molecular techniques, the marker work is becoming the least expensive part of the process. The expensive part is the proper phenotyping of the trait of interest because without precise evaluation protocols, markers with not be useful.

Again, I suggest you look at the RosBREED site to see how the research on marker enabled breeding is progressing with fruit crops which from a breeding perspective are similar to roses.

Dave

kim rupert
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46743Post kim rupert
Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:07 pm

Welcome home Dave! I hope you enjoyed your trip.

Don
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46833Post Don
Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:55 am

>> I am involved in the RosBREED I have also tried to get funding through this same program to do similar work with the rose but have yet to get funded.

What specific traits are you proposing to study? Is there anything the RHA can do to help your proposal along?

>> The expensive part is the proper phenotyping of the trait of interest because without precise evaluation protocols, markers with not be useful.

Indeed. Yet from the combined map I can see that some useful traits are already associated with genetic markers such as powder mildew resistance, various fragrance compounds and petal count. What would it take to create a handy dandy do-it-yourself selection kit for one of these traits that an RHA member could use in their kitchen?
What doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

dbyrne
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46837Post dbyrne
Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:46 pm

The trip to China was exhausting but always fascinating. Although was mainly devoted to my collaborative work on peaches with my Chinese colleagues, I also had a chance to visit a couple of former visiting scholars who had worked in the Rose Breeding Program at Texas A&M University. Feng Hui who is a Rose Breeder at the Beijing Institute of Landscape Architecture was kind enough to invite me to give a seminar on the Rose Breeding Program at Texas A&M University. In spite of technical issues in synchronizing my computer with their projector, the talk went well with the translation done by committee many times to be able to translate the breeding and genetics aspects properly. Thus sometime I spoke for 30 seconds and the translation went on for 2-3 minutes!

I also spoke with my other former Visiting Scientist, Ruidan Chen and her colleagues Professor Zhang Qixiang and his graduate student, Yu Chao. These colleagues work at the Beijing Forestry University and they have been active in collecting rose species in China and are planning to do some mapping work with a tetraploid rose population. I have a lot more to learn about their work and determine how we can work together. Luckily, I will be visiting Beijing again in late October on my way to visit the Rose Research Program based at the Guizhou Botanical Garden in Giuyang, Guizhou province. At that time I will arrange another visit to see the ongoing work in Beijing.

dbyrne
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46840Post dbyrne
Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:02 pm

The proposal that we have developed is entitled Tools for Developing Broadly Adapted Roses and focusses on black spot resistance and the ability of the roses to flower consistently and abundantly throughout the year including our scorching summers. In the past the RHA has supported by offering space on the web site for surveys.

In the last iteration, one of the criticisms was that we had not done a formal survey of what the industry/consumers wanted with respect to rose traits. Thus perhaps the RHA could help in developing and collecting responses from a survey that would collect such information.

Our idea with the grant was to develop the appropriate markers and make them available to breeders on a fee basis. I figure it could work by the breeder sending us young leaf tissue and the service doing the DNA extraction and marker analysis with an intepretation much like one might do for a plant tissue analysis for nutrient analysis.

At this point we do not have neat little kits that you could mash some tissue into and see if it has a particular marker but as the technology gets better and cheaper - you never know.

Don
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46842Post Don
Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:05 pm

At the risk of inviting more rants about evil corporations plotting to ruin the planet here is a Greenpeace report on marker assisted breeding that underscores the point I've been trying to make that the RHA should be on the front lines with respect to this technology.

Smart Breeding. Marker-Assisted Selection: A non-invasive biotechnology alternative to genetic engineering of plant varieties.

>> Our idea with the grant was to develop the appropriate markers and make them available to breeders on a fee basis. I figure it could work by the breeder sending us young leaf tissue and the service doing the DNA extraction and marker analysis with an interpretation much like one might do for a plant tissue analysis for nutrient analysis.

I wonder if this approach would be practical. In my case that would mean sending a few thousand tissue samples, and my program is small compared to others in this crowd. I'm going to continue to lobby for you folks to develop a kit that I can use myself.

My ideal device would be a sort of mini-clothespin that I could pinch onto a cotyledon. It would plug into my smart-phone on which I could run an app that allows me to scan the seedling's bar code and send the answer (trait/no trait) right to my database. The screen would flash green or red telling me whether to keep or toss the seedling on the spot.

Beam me up, Scotty!
What doesn't kill them makes them stronger.

natanderson
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Re: Monsanto's use of genetic markers for plant breeding

Post: # 46850Post natanderson
Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:48 am

Don,

That's a wonderful idea! Just think how much easier our lives would be!!

Of course now, you could start your own lab. (Yes, you can get just about anything on eBay these day!)

All you need (in no particular order) is:

Micro-pestle (to crush the young tissue)

Access to liquid nitrogen (to assist in crushing tissue)

A cordless drill (to attach to micro-pestle)

Thousands and thousands of micro-centrifuge tubes (I prefer to buy the different colored ones to help keep track of things)

Water bath

Timer

The right protocol for extracting the DNA...alas, one 'size' does not fit all in the plant kingdom :-(

PCR machine (Actually, Dr. Byrne said he used to do it all by hand when he was in college. I can't imagine standing around for that many hours going back and forth between an ice bath and a hot bath treatment!)

Electrophoresis equipment

Gelling agent for the electrophoresis process (MetaPhor is really the best as it has 'high resolution' capabilities.)

Micro-pipettes (and thousands of tips for them)

Plus all of the other 'consumables' you'll need (example: chemicals, gloves, etc...)

Vent hood (because you don't want to die inhaling the fumes of some of those chemicals, or at least you don't want the house to smell like a skunk for the rest of it's existence!)

It also really, REALLY helps if you know the ploidy level of the plants your working with. It gives you a good indication if the banding patterns your seeing are realistic or not.

You are also assuming that the banding patterns are far enough apart to decipher them on a gel. If not, then you have to sink considerable funds into purchasing a capillary electrophoresis machine. Or, if you're super lucky, and you live near (or work for) a university that has access to one of these. Then, you get to wait until they tell you they have space for you to use their machine AND charge you for each sample they run.

Hmm...did I mention that it takes more than one day just to extract the DNA and there is no guarantee that the quality of DNA you extract will be useful for the PCR process?

I'm only half joking about this. If you are very creative and have a lot of time, you can figure out alternatives for much of the equipment that you need. (And yes, I did buy a micro-centrifuge on eBay! --And, I've a friend who bought her own personal micro-pipette through eBay.)

I am, however, NOT joking about the vent hood. Stinky mercaptoethanol is the least of your concerns when it comes to extracting DNA from roses.

Maybe, by the time I retire from the university (hopefully in 15+ years) they will actually have the technology to hook that clothes pin up to your cell phone and let you know if your trait of interest is present or not! I think that would be awesome!! But then, I have to ask myself, even if the trait isn't present do I want to just throw it out or look and see if it has some other 'redeeming' quality I'd be interested in.

Ugh...I've rambled enough and now I'm going back to bed!
[size=small]Natalie Anderson
Research Associate
Rose Breeding and Genetics - Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2133
USDA Grow Zone 8
[/size]

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