Approved genetically modified (GM) horticultural plants: A 25-year perspective

Open access

Abstract

In this review, we present genetically modified (GM) horticultural events that have passed the regulatory process and have been approved for cultivation or food use in different countries. The first authorization or deregulation of a GM horticultural plant issued 25 years ago initiated a fast expansion of GM organisms (GMO) engineered by using gene transfer technology. The list of GM horticultural species comprises representatives of vegetables, fruit plants and ornamentals. We describe their unique characteristics, often not achievable by conventional breeding, and how they were developed, and the approval process. Information on the adoption of GM horticultural cultivars and sale is accessed if commercialization has occurred. The review comprises, among others, Flavr SavrTM and other tomato cultivars with delayed ripening and improved shelf-life, insect-resistant eggplant (or brinjal), as well as virus-resistant squash, melon and the common bean, and also fruit trees, plum and papaya. Cultivation of the latter was particularly valuable to farmers in Hawaii as it ensured restoration of papaya production devastated earlier by the Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV). In contrast, a plum resistant to sharka (Plum pox virus; PPV) deregulated in the USA is still awaiting commercialization. GM events with improved quality include the recently marketed non-browning apple and high-lycopene pineapple. We also present orange petunia, blue ‘Applause’ rose and Moon-series carnations with a modified purple and violet flower colour. Finally, we discuss prospects of GM horticultural plants, including their development using promising new breeding technologies relying on genome editing and considered as an alternative to the transgenic approach.

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