Novel roles for genetically modified plants in environmental protection

Trends Biotechnol. 2008 Mar;26(3):146-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2007.11.009.


Transgenic plants of environmental benefit typically consist of plants that either reduce the input of agrochemicals into the environment or make the biological remediation of contaminated areas more efficient. Examples include the construction of species that result in reduced pesticide use and of species that contain genes for either the degradation of organics or the increased accumulation of inorganics. Cutting-edge approaches, illustrated by our own work, focus on the applicability of genetically modified (GM) plants that produce insect pheromones or that are specifically tailored to the phytoremediation of cadmium or PCBs. This paper discusses the role that the next generation of GM plants might play in preventing and reducing chemical contamination and in converting contaminated sites into safe agricultural or recreational land.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Environmental Pollutants / isolation & purification*
  • Environmental Pollutants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Environmental Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*


  • Environmental Pollutants