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Sensors  2008 

Transgenic Plants as Sensors of Environmental Pollution Genotoxicity

DOI: 10.3390/s8031539

Keywords: Transgenic phytosensor, plant biosensor, Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana

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Abstract:

Rapid technological development is inevitably associated with manyenvironmental problems which primarily include pollution of soil, water and air. In manycases, the presence of contamination is difficult to assess. It is even more difficult toevaluate its potential danger to the environment and humans. Despite the existence ofseveral whole organism-based and cell-based models of sensing pollution and evaluationof toxicity and mutagenicity, there is no ideal system that allows one to make a quick andcheap assessment. In this respect, transgenic organisms that can be intentionally altered tobe more sensitive to particular pollutants are especially promising. Transgenic plantsrepresent an ideal system, since they can be grown at the site of pollution or potentiallydangerous sites. Plants are ethically more acceptable and esthetically more appealing thananimals as sensors of environmental pollution. In this review, we will discuss varioustransgenic plant-based models that have been successfully used for biomonitoringgenotoxic pollutants. We will also discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of thesesystems and describe some novel ideas for the future generation of efficient transgenicphytosensors.

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