Plastid biotechnology: prospects for herbicide and insect resistance, metabolic engineering and molecular farming

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2007 Apr;18(2):100-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2006.12.001. Epub 2006 Dec 13.


Transgene expression from the chloroplast (plastid) genome offers several attractions to plant biotechnologists, including high-level accumulation of foreign proteins, transgene stacking in operons and a lack of epigenetic interference with the stability of transgene expression. In addition, the technology provides an environmentally benign method of plant genetic engineering, because plastids and their genetic information are maternally inherited in most crops and thus are largely excluded from pollen transmission. During the past few years, researchers in both the public and private sectors have begun to explore possible areas of application of plastid transformation in plant biotechnology as a viable alternative to conventional nuclear transgenic technologies. Recent proof-of-concept studies highlight the potential of plastid genome engineering for the expression of resistance traits, the production of biopharmaceuticals and metabolic pathway engineering in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / trends*
  • Animals
  • Biotechnology / trends*
  • Forecasting
  • Genetic Engineering / trends*
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*
  • Insecta / pathogenicity*
  • Molecular Biology / trends
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / drug effects
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / parasitology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / physiology*
  • Plastids / genetics*


  • Herbicides