A new proprietary system for genetic transformation, the Aerosol Beam Injector (ABI), has been developed and patented by Stine Biotechnology in Ames, Iowa. Stine Biotechnology, along with Stine Seed Company (Stine’s retail seed division), is a division of Stine Seed Farm Inc.
ABI offers Stine and its strategic partners total freedom to operate to insert traits from any source into Stine’s bank of high-yielding elite germplasm. In addition, the new technology creates plant transformation opportunities not previously possible.
“Development of the Aerosol Beam Injector is the latest in a long history of innovation here at Stine,” says company founder Harry Stine. “For nearly 40 years we’ve been working to breed and develop the best in corn and soybean seed for America’s farmers. Our Aerosol Beam Injector sets the stage for the next era in seed genetics, because this technology opens the door to many potentially important genetic transformations that have previously not been available to plant agriculture.”
Aerosol Beam Injector: How It Works
To begin, genetic material (e.g-DNA) in solution is atomized and mixed with a gas to form an aerosol. As the aerosol mixture passes through an extremely small orifice, and subsequently into a vacuum chamber containing the target tissue, the change in pressure causes the velocity of the aerosol mixture to increase to supersonic speed. This ultra-high velocity enables the aerosol mixture to enter the target tissue and implant the genetic material within the cell.
The Stine Difference
Although other technologies for plant transformation exist in the industry today, ABI has quickly proven itself as a simple, efficient, and extremely effective transformation method.
Probably the most popular method of plant transformation today is the Biolistic Particle Delivery System, more commonly known as “the gene gun.” Developed by Cornell University, and subsequently licensed by DuPont, the gene gun works by firing tungsten or gold particles coated with a DNA solution into the target plant tissue. While the gene gun has proven itself to be an effective method of transformation in many respects, it does have its drawbacks. For example, the process is generally ineffective for delivering material other than DNA. In addition, the metal particles used as the carrier are as much as 100 times larger than the stream of aerosol mixture utilized in Stine’s technology.
Another type of gene transformation technology is Agrobacterium. Originally used in dicotyledon plants, this technology was expanded to monocotyledon plants by Japan Tobacco. Agrobacterium is a biological method that uses a common bacterium to deliver DNA into plant cells. However, this method is complex due to its dependence upon the manipulation of a live organism, in this case, bacteria.
Alternatively, Stine’s Aerosol Beam Injector emits a steady stream of genetic material just 400-microns-wide, or roughly the size of the dot over the letter “i” in a typical newspaper. This tiny stream is delivered in a computer-guided pattern where the speed, flow rate and spray pattern are all controlled, allowing for extremely precise targeting of materials. The process has proven itself to be highly effective in corn and soybean, plus, is being experimented with in other crops. In addition, the system also enables researchers to insert not just DNA, but also RNA, proteins, and other material, opening the door to many other exciting possibilities.
“This technology allows Stine and our strategic partners to set to work developing the next wave of superior crop genetics which will directly address the challenges—and opportunities—of farming in the 21st century,” Stine says.
About Stine Seed Company
Stine Seed Company, headquartered near Adel, Iowa, is an industry-leading seed company focused on developing and marketing the world's best performing corn and soybean seed.
For nearly four decades, Stine’s soybean research program has been regarded as the soybean genetics supplier of choice to the seed industry. In addition, Stine has research efforts aimed at breeding and development of its own proprietary corn inbreds and hybrids.
For more information, call toll-free (800) 362-2510 or visit the Web site at www.stineseed.com.