PRODUCTION OF GENETICALLY AND DEVELOPMENTALLY MODIFIED SEAWEEDS: EXPLOITING THE POTENTIAL OF ARTIFICIAL SELECTION TECHNIQUES
Charrier B, Rolland E, Gupta V and Reddy RC.
Plant feedstock with specific, modified developmental features has been a quest for
centuries. Since the development and spread of agriculture, there has been a desire for
plants producing disproportionate—or more abundant and more nutritional—biomass
that meet human needs better than their native counterparts. Seaweed aquaculture,
targeted for human consumption and the production of various raw materials, is a rapidly
expanding field and its stakeholders have increasing vested interest for cost-effective
and lucrative seaweed cultivation processes. Thus, scientific research on seaweed
development is particularly timely: the potential for expansion of seaweed cultivation
depends on the sector’s capacity to produce seaweeds with modified morphological
features (e.g., thicker blades), higher growth rates or delayed (or even no) fertility.
Here, we review the various technical approaches used to modify development in
macroalgae, which have attracted little attention from developmental biologists to
date. Because seaweed (or marine macroalgae) anatomy is much less complex
than that of land plants and because seaweeds belong to three different eukaryotic
phyla, the mechanisms controlling their morphogenesis are key to understanding their
development. Here, we present efficient sources of developmentally and genetically
modified seaweeds—somatic variants, artificial hybrids and mutants—as well as the
future potential of these techniques.
6:127. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00127, 2015