Identifying model metal hyperaccumulating plants: germplasm analysis of 20 Brassicaceae accessions from a wide geographical area


Here we report on the first phase of a funded programme to select a wild relative of Arabidopsis thaliana for use in large-scale genomic strategies, including forward and reverse genetic screens for the identification of genes involved in metal hyperaccumulation.

  • Twenty accessions of metal accumulating species of the Brassicaceae collected from Austria, France, Turkey and the USA during spring–summer 2001 were evaluated.
  • The criteria established for selection were: hyperaccumulation of metal (Ni, Zn); compact growth habit; reasonable time to flowering; production of ≥ 1000 seeds per plant; self-fertility; a compact diploid genome; high sequence identity with A. thaliana; and ≥ 0.1% transformation efficiency with easy selection. As part of this selection process we also report, for the first time, the stable genetic transformation of various hyperaccumulator species with both the green fluorescence protein (GFP) and the bar selectable marker.
  • We conclude that metal hyperaccumulation ability, self-fertility, seed set, transformation efficiency and a diploid genome were the most important selection criteria. Based on an overall assessment of the performance of all 20 accessions, Thlaspi caerulescens Félix de Pallières showed the most promise as a model hyperaccumulator
  • Keywords

    arabidopsis, cochlearia, genome size, metal hyperaccumulation, model system, Thlaspi, transformation

    Date of this Version



    New Phytologist, Volume 159, Issue 2, pages 421-430.