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Mutagenesis and TILLING to Dissect Gene Function in Plants

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 6 ]


Zerihun Tadele   Pages 499 - 508 ( 10 )


Mutagenesis can be random or targeted and occur by nature or artificially by humans. However, the bulk of mutagenesis employed in plants are random and caused by physical agents such as x-ray and gamma-ray or chemicals such as ethyl-methane sulfonate (EMS). Researchers are interested in first identifying these mutations and/or polymorphisms in the genome followed by investigating their effects in the plant function as well as their application in crop improvement. The high-throughput technique called TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesion IN Genomes) has been already established and become popular for identifying candidate mutant individuals harboring mutations in the gene of interest. TILLING is a non-transgenic and reverse genetics method of identifying a single nucleotide changes. The procedure of TILLING comprises traditional mutagenesis using optimum type and concentration of mutagen, development of a non-chimeric population, DNA extraction and pooling, mutation detection as well as validation of results. In general, TILLING has proved to be robust in identifying useful mutant lines in diverse economically important crops of the world. The main goal of the current mini-review is to show the significance role played by mutagenesis and TILLING in the discovery of DNA lesions which are to be used in the improvement of crops for the trait of interest.


Ethyl methane sulfonate, High-throughput technique, Mutagenesis, Mutation induction, Mutation detection, Mutation breeding, Targeted mutagenesis, TILLING.


Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern, Switzerland; & Addis Ababa University, Institute of Biotechnology, P.O. Box 32853, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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