Cisgenesis and Intragenesis: New tools For Improving Crops
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) could be the answer for many relevant problems affecting crops. However, improving crops through GMO is also often associated with safety concerns, environmental risks and health issues due to the presence of foreign DNA. These limitations have prompted the development of alternative technologies. Recently, cisgenesis and intragenesis have been developed as new tools aimed to modify crops. While cisgenesis involves genetic modification using a complete copy of natural genes with their regulatory elements that belong exclusively to sexually compatible plants, intragenesis refers to the transference of new combinations of genes and regulatory sequences belonging to that particular species. So far, application of cisgenesis and intragenesis as alternatives to conventional transgenesis are limited to a few species, mainly due to the lack of knowledge of the regulatory sequences required. The grape is one of the most cultivated crops worldwide and is the most economically relevant crop in Chile. Its genomic sequence has been completed, making available new sources of information to improve grape traits by genetic manipulation. This review is focused on the current alternatives to transgenesis in plants, including new approaches to develop marker-free crops, their application to economically relevant crops and future perspectives in the area. Also, the identification of grapevine promoters with a wide range of expression profiles is shown. The expression pattern of these genes was analyzed in different tissues and developmental stages, as well as under several stresses and stimuli, giving a broad range of expression patterns, including genes expressed exclusively during ripening, in response to sugars, senescence and biotic stress, among others. Genes with strong and constitutive expression were also identified. Functional analysis using reporter genes has been conducted in order to confirm the promoter's transcription activity, opening new possibilities for developing cisgenic/intragenic grapevines.