Would I be able to genetically modify a plant at home? What equipment will be necessary? I think it might be a fun change from the 'norm' of regular hybridisation, to try some inter-family gene insertion, instead of staying within a genus. Are some plants easier to modify than others?
Yes, It is.
An Indian Company IndieBB can help you get one. IndieBB: a DNA system designed to help you and your friends to explore genetic engineering and synthetic biology by making fluorescent bacteria at home.
Well, that depends on your home. ;) I think it is not an easy process.
There are two main methods that are used to genetically modify plants:
Using the bacterium, Agrobacterium tumifaciens, as a vector for the DNA. Agrobacterium has the ability to infect plants and insert DNA into a plant's genome. It causes crown gall tumours in natural infections. This method has mainly been used to modify broad leaved plants, such as sugar beet and oilseed rape, but is now also being applied to monocot species, such as maize and rice
Particle bombardment or biolistics where the DNA to be inserted is coated on minute gold particles and fired into plants cells. This approach is used for monocot plants such as maize and rice
Here I found simple step by step article, but lil bit old. may be there are new methods for this process. How To Genetically Modify a Seed, Step By Step
Yes it is. The easiest plant to transform would be Arabidopsis, which can be transformed by agrobacterium using the floral dip method. The process would be as follows: 1. Design a gene sequence you wish to insert into the plant 2. Synthesize (or otherwise acquire the DNA) 3. Insert the DNA into your agrobacterium, at home you would use a cold snap transformation process described here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvkfIECvyqs This can be done at home using a dry ice bath. 4. Then use the floral dip method to insert the dna into the plant. This involves growing a plant to just the right age when it is flowering and dipping the Arabidopsis flowers into a solution of the agrobacterium. 5. Then grow the flowers to seed and grow the seeds on a suitable select able marker (which you designed into your DNA plasmid).
The specific experimental conditions needed to do all this are too long for this answer, but you can look them up online as all the procedures are standard.
Plants which result from this process would not be legal to release into the wild due to USDA regulations.
Engineering other plants, depending on the species, can be more complex but could possibly also done at home. There are even designs online for an open source gene gun if you didn't want to use agrobacterium.
genetic modification can be done with mutations. A mutation is a permanent change in the sequence of DNA. In order to obtain an observable effect, mutations must occur in gene exons, or regulatory elements. Changes in the non-coding regions of DNA (introns and junk DNA) generally do not affect function.
Mutations can be caused by:
Mutations can be advantageous and lead to an evolutionary advantage of a certain genotype..this will be a solution for your plant modification..
A mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material, usually DNA, of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level.
long term treatment plant with mutagens caused mutations some might be advantage then select advantage .. As many mutations cause cancer, mutagens are therefore also likely to be carcinogens!
Not to forget that simple cross breeding your plants the Mendelian way also modifies their genetic make up, as @souvik bhattacharya indicates in his comment. No equipment necessary, no chemicals, no ethical issues.