Developing a transposon tagging system to isolate rust-resistance genes from flax.
A line of flax (Linum usitatissimum), homozygous for four genes controlling resistance to flax rust (Melampsora lini), was transformed with T-DNA vectors carrying the maize transposable elements Ac and Ds to assess whether transposition frequency would be high enough to allow transposon tagging of the resistance genes. Transposition was much less frequent in flax than in Solanaceaous hosts such as tobacco, tomato and potato. Transposition frequency in callus tissue, but not in plants, was increased by modifications to the transposase gene of Ac. Transactivation of the excision of a Ds element was achieved by expressing a cDNA copy of the Ac transposase gene from the Agrobacterium T-DNA 2′ promoter. Progeny of three plants transformed with Ac and 15 plants transformed with Ds and the transposase gene, were examined for transposition occurring in the absence of selection. Transposition was observed in the descendants of only one plant which contained at least nine copies of Ac. Newly transposed Ac elements were observed in 25-30% of the progeny of some members of this family and one active Ac element was located 28.8 (SE = 6.3) map units from the L6rust-resistance gene.