Intraspecific transfer of herbicide resistance in the red microalga Porphyridium sp. (Rhodophyceae) via protoplast fusion

Alex Sivan, Shoshana Arad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Stable progeny doubly resistant to the herbicides sulfometuron methyl (SMM) and diuron [3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea] (DCMU) were obtained at a frequency of 2% on fusion of protoplasts derived from mutants of Porphyridium sp. (UTEX 637) that were resistant only to SMM (strain SMR) or DCMU (strain DC-2). In the presence of both herbicides, only the fusion progeny could grow; both parental mutants were inhibited. In the absence of SMM, the activity of acetohydroxy acid synthase (AHAS) in the wild-type strain was similar to that in DC- 2, exceeding that of SMR by up to 4.5-fold. AHAS activities of all fusion progeny were lower than those of the wildtype strain and DC-2 but higher than that of SMR. In the presence of SMM, AHAS activities of all tested fusion progeny ranged between those of the two parental mutants. This result indicates that both types of AHAS, the type resistant to SMM and the sensitive type, originating from SMR and DC-2, respectively, were expressed in the fusion progeny. In the presence of DCMU, the photosynthetic activity of SMR was completely inhibited, whereas that of DC-2 was unaffected. The photosynthetic activity of the fusion progeny in the presence of DCMU was slightly lower than that of DC-2. Both the cell volume and the DNA content of the fusion progeny were similar to those of the parents. However, the genetic nature of the fusion products has not yet been elucidated. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on transfer of herbicide resistance via protoplast fusion in algae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-711
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998


  • DCMU
  • Genetic markers
  • Herbicide-resistant mutants
  • Microalgae
  • Porphyridium
  • Protoplast fusion
  • Rhodophyta
  • Sulfometuron methyl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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