Cisgenesis and intragenesis are two techniques that like transgenesis incorporate foreign DNA into plants. The major distinction from transgenesis is the origin of the DNA. With cisgenesis and intragenesis only DNA from the same species or DNA from a sexually compatible species gets incorporated. However, intragenesis can also include intentional rearrangements of said DNA, while cisgenesis only includes DNA in its natural arrangement. The limitation of using DNA from the same species or a sexually compatible species mirrors the limitations seen in nature, however these techniques do overcome the severe time lag we get with conventional breeding. This is because conventional breeding requires multiple rounds of crossing to move a beneficial gene into a new plant line, while in cisgenesis or intragenesis you move the beneficial gene in a single step.

How does cisgenesis or intragenesis work? Scientists start by identifying a promising gene that is thought to be beneficial, next this gene is isolated (cloned) from the donor plant. This gene is then introduced into another plant line by agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation or biolistic transformation. Once incorporated into the plant’s DNA, the new gene will be able to confer the new beneficial quality to the plant. This technique can save years of breeding time while getting a nearly identical outcome to conventional breeding.