The purpose of this book is to provide an overview of the production of GM crops, highlighting the key scientific and technical advances that underpin their development. The text begins with a summary of current knowledge about plant genome organisation and gene expression, followed by an introduction to the techniques of plant tissue culture and genetic transformation and their application to crop plants. A consideration of the design of constructs for plant genetic manipulation precedes a series of chapters covering specific targets for GM crops. These include the genetic manipulation of herbicide resistance, pest resistance and disease resistance. Strategies for engineering stress tolerance and the improvement of crop yield and quality are discussed, and the prospects for "molecular farming" are considered. Key themes and strategies are developed using appropriate case studies, which place the science in its broader agricultural/commercial context. The text concentrates on the core molecular biological issues, whilst the associated web site encourages an exploration of the wider implications and concerns about GM crops.
Companion Web Site All the figures from the book are available to download free from the companion website. It also features weblinks to relevant sites with additional information or discussion including those hosted by the protagonists of the GM debate.
Adrian Slater graduated in 1975 from Edinburgh University with a degree in Biological Sciences. He studied for a PhD at Glasgow University in the processing and transport of RNA in human cells and continued there as a postdoctoral researcher on human heat shock proteins. He moved to the University of Nottingham School of Agriculture to a post-doctoral research post working on the cloning of ripening-related genes from tomato. He was appointed as a lecturer in plant molecular biology at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University, Leicester) in 1986 and has continued working there on the plant cell cycle and the genetic manipulation of plant development. He is currently the deputy director of the De Montfort University Norman Borlaug Institute for Plant Science Research. Dr Nigel Scott graduated in 1976 from Leeds University with a degree in Biochemistry and Genetics then studied for a PhD in Bacterial Genetics at Newcastle University. During a post-doctoral career that included periods at the University of Warwick and the NERC Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Oxford, he did research in various areas of microbial development and plant-virus interactions. He was appointed as a lecturer in plant molecular biology at De Montfort University in 1992 and continues to lecture and carry out research in the genetic manipulation of plant development, genetics and microbiology. Dr Mark Fowler graduated in 1987 from Leicester Polytechnic with a degree in Science and the Environment and stayed at Leicester Polytechnic/De Montfort University to study for a PhD in the control of plant cell division. He has been a post-doctoral research scientist, junior research fellow and now research fellow all at De Montfort University.