Genetic Engineering of Male Sterility for Hybrid Seed Production
Brassica crops are of significant importance for vegetable and oil production. Brassica oil seed crops have become the world’s third largest most important source of edible vegetable oil. The use of genetic engineering has potential to open new vistas for the production of novel varieties of oil crops. Male sterility is needed for the production of F1 hybrid seed. We have created nuclear male sterility through genetic engineering of anther specific gene, Bcp1. We have also shown that antisense RNA inactivation of this unique gene of plant origin leads to nuclear male sterility in Arabidopsis and Brassica vegetable cauliflower. We are extending the use of this technology to other vegetable and oil seed Brassica crops.