This anthology traces the fascinating progress from plant pathology to biotechnology through 38 scientific papers on Agrobacterium, published over the past century. Included are the seminal scientific papers in the biology and application of Agrobacterium with several introductory commentaries by those involved in the original work. The commentaries give background to the papers, explain the problems faced, and the techniques used, providing insight into the way fundamental research progresses.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens has played a major role in the astounding advances that have been made over the past several decades in the areas of plant genetics, plant molecular biology, and plant genetic engineering. The papers included in this book were integral to the current understanding of the interaction of Agrobacterium with its hosts, its development into a major player in the genetic engineering of plants, and the biological control of crown gall.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens: From Plant Pathology to Biotechnology is divided into five sections. The first section begins with 1904 when Erwin F. Smith began detailed work on crown gall and considered it to be a plant pathological problem. It explores many of the biological discoveries made over the past century, including the pivotal moment when Armin C. Braun discovered that crown gall was a plant cancer. Other papers cover the beginnings of T-DNA research and the development of vectors to improve the process of transferring T-DNA from bacterium to plant cell. The second section delves further into vector systems and genetic coding for diseases and insect resistance, exploring the evolution of genetic engineering in crops.
The final three sections deal with themes developed from crown gall studies, including “quorum sensing” or population density, the accomplishment of DNA sequencing on one strain of A. tumefaciens, and the first genetically engineered organism, strain K1026, released for commercial use.
According to Editor, Eugene Nester, “This book should serve as a testimony to the 100 years of research on this remarkable organism, as well as to an international group of investigators who helped reveal secrets of this natural genetic engineer.” Students, professors, plant pathologists, microbiologists, or anyone interested in research and/or the history of plant pathology and biotechnology, will find this collection of papers an intriguing read.
“This is an inspirational book, excellent in concept and timely in appearance, describing the transition from a problem in plant pathology to the expanding vista of genetic engineering of crop plants…this book will be of general interest to plant scientists, and to historians of science. Scientists at an early stage in their career should be inspired as I was by some of the commentaries; the best of them give insight into the way science is done and the standards to which all scientists should aspire.”—Australian Plant Pathology“This is an excellent book-a necessity for those working on Agrobacterium, and also of use to other pathologists and molecular biologists. For students, this book would be extremely important.”—Plant Pathology“…should be considered an invaluable, core addition to government, corporate, and academic research and reference collections in this specialized field of biological and biotechnological research.”—The Midwest Book Review
“… this book really grabbed me and I got a great deal of enjoyment from reading it. I suspect many will follow avidly how the mysteries of this bacterium were unraveled and the development of its starring role in plant biotechnology but for me the commentaries themselves are a fascinating insight into how research was, and probably still is conducted. The editors/authors are to be congratulated on reproducing their enthusiasm for research and the joy of discovery.”—Microbiology Today
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