Genetic Engineering

The pineapple industry around the world is unique in its almost total reliance on a single cultivar. This industry, through its consistent use of a single cultivar from the birth of pineapple processing, has virtually fixed the identity of canned pineapple as 'Smooth Cayenne'. New cultivars for this market would need to be almost identical to 'Smooth Cayenne' in production, processing and organoleptic qualities. Improvements to this cultivar would therefore be difficult using conventional hybridization techniques. Genetic engineering, however, would have tremendous application for making small targeted changes without changing the integrity of the cultivar we know as 'Smooth Cayenne'.

To successfully genetically engineer pineapple, genes of interest first have to be identified and sequenced and a complementary DNA (cDNA) clone generated. A plas-mid construct, including promoter, terminator regions, gene of interest and a selectable marker gene, can then be designed and constructed. Transformation techniques are then employed to introduce the new gene sequence into cells of the chosen cultivar.

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