MadSci Network: Botany

Re: Can a plant be genetically engineered to be self-fertilizing?

Date: Wed Oct 11 13:35:26 2000
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 970995070.Bt

Theoretically it may someday be possible to take bacterial genes for nitrogen 
fixation and incorporate them in the plant so that a bacterium is not required 
for nitrogen fixation but it would probably be very difficult.

When genetic engineering first began, there were bold predictions that genes 
for nitrogen fixation would be tranferred from beans to corn so corn would not 
need nitrogen fertilizer. However, this has not been accomplished because it 
was more complicated than the genetic engineers realized. Also, even if it is 
done, the corn yield will probably be reduced because biological nitrogen 
fixation has a very high energy requirement. 

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