Genetic transformation technologies for the common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

Plant Methods. 2021 Jun 9;17(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s13007-021-00760-3.


Background: Taraxacum officinale, or the common dandelion, is a widespread perennial species recognized worldwide as a common lawn and garden weed. Common dandelion is also cultivated for use in teas, as edible greens, and for use in traditional medicine. It produces latex and is closely related to the Russian dandelion, T. kok-saghyz, which is being developed as a rubber crop. Additionally, the vast majority of extant common dandelions reproduce asexually through apomictically derived seeds- an important goal for many major crops in modern agriculture. As such, there is increasing interest in the molecular control of important pathways as well as basic molecular biology and reproduction of common dandelion.

Results: Here we present an improved Agrobacterium-based genetic transformation and regeneration protocol, a protocol for generation and transformation of protoplasts using free DNA, and a protocol for leaf Agrobacterium infiltration for transient gene expression. These protocols use easily obtainable leaf explants from soil-grown plants and reagents common to most molecular plant laboratories. We show that common markers used in many plant transformation systems function as expected in common dandelion including fluorescent proteins, GUS, and anthocyanin regulation, as well as resistance to kanamycin, Basta, and hygromycin.

Conclusion: Reproducible, stable and transient transformation methods are presented that will allow for needed molecular structure and function studies of genes and proteins in T. officinale.

Keywords: Dandelion; Protoplast transformation; Taraxacum officinale; Transformation; Transient expression.