Plant selectable markers and reporter genes
In recent years, considerable progress has been made in genetic engineering of various plant species, both agronomically important crops as well as model plants. The bases of this progress were, in addition to efficient transformation methods, the design of appropriate signals regulating transgene expression and the use of selection marker or reporter genes. In most cases, a gene of interest is introduced into plants in association with a selectable marker gene (nptII, hpt, acc3, aadA, bar, pat). Recovery of a transgenic plant is, therefore, facilitated by selection of putative transformants on a medium containing a selection agent, such as antibiotic (nptII, hpt, acc3, aadA), antimetabolite (dhfr), herbicide (bar, pat), etc. On the other hand, use of reporter genes (cat, lacZ, uidA, luc, gfp) allows not only to distinguish transformed and non-transformed plants, but first of all to study regulation of different cellular processes. In particular, by employing vital markers (Luc, GFP) gene expression, protein localization and intracellular protein traffic can be now observed in situ, without the need of destroying plant.