In plants, tumors caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciensoccur by transfer of DNA from the bacterium to the plant. The artificial introduction of DNA into plant cells is more challenging than in animal cells because of the thick plant cell wall. Researchers used the natural transfer of DNA from Agrobacteriumto a plant host to introduce DNA fragments of their choice into plant hosts. In nature, the disease-causing A.tumefacienshave a set of plasmids that contain genes that integrate into the infected plant cell’s genome. Researchers manipulate the plasmids to carry the desired DNA fragment and insert it into the plant genome.
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