M.K. Smith,1 H.-L. Ko,1 S.D. Hamill,1 G.M. Sanewski1 and

M.W. Graham2

1Maroochy Research Station, PO Box 5083, SCMC, Nambour, Qld 4560, Australia; 2Queensland Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, Gehrmann Laboratories, Level 4, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia

Plant biotechnology is a new and rapidly developing discipline that offers substantial opportunities in the field of plant identification, multiplication and genetic improvement. The new tools of biotechnology have made it possible to excise precise lengths of DNA, to isolate and recombine them with other pieces of DNA, to move them around in DNA plasmids or vectors and to transfer the vectors into the same or other species in ways that permit the desired DNA to become part of the new organism.

Plant tissue culture is an integral part of plant biotechnology and includes the culture of plant cells, tissues or organs under aseptic conditions. This term can also be extended to include the culture of excised embryos and protoplasts. Transformation develops the tissue culture process further by delivering recombinant DNA to plant cells and the regeneration of plants from these cells. The goal of transformation is to 'engineer' plants that express the gene of interest without altering the remaining, and often unique, part of the genotype.

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