Author Loh, Jin Phang
Title Plant diversity studies and selection for transgenic production of biopolymers.
Institute Thesis (M.Sc.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year 1999
Supervisor Gan, Yik Yuen
Call no. QK981.5 Loh
Genetic engineering and biotechnology hold great potential for plant breeding as it promises to expedite the time taken to produce crop varieties with desirable characters. With the use of molecular techniques, it would now be possible to hasten the transfer of desirable genes among varieties and to introduce novel genes from related wild species. This highlights the importance of genetic diversity and the need for conserved germplasm. Assisting in selection for desirable characters as well as plant identification are the use of techniques as molecular markers for genetic mapping and genetic diversity studies of valuable crop plants and ornamental plants. In this study, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used for genetic diversity studies into Caladium, Xanthosoma, cassava, bamboo and banana. Results showed that it was more effective in differentiating plants down to the cultivar level. The high level of polymorphism detected using AFLP means accurate phylogenetic analysis could also be obtained. Proper identification and taxonomic classification of plant species using AFLP data was also demonstrated. In addition to genetic diversity studies, work was also done to establish the basis for the engineering of tropical plants for PHB production. This included the development of gene constructs PCR assays, attempts to detect transient levels of PHB via epifluorescence, establishment of regeneration system for cassava, tests of antibiotics and herbicide tolerance levels as well as preliminary particle bombardment experiments in tobacco and cassava.