Jatropha curcas is an oil bearing species with multiple uses and considerable economic potential as a biofuel crop. A simple and reproducible protocol was developed for Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated stable genetic transformation of J. curcas using leaf explains. Agrobacterium strain LBA 4404 harbouring the binary vector pCAMBIA 1304 having sense-dehydration responsive element binding (S-DREB2A), beta-glucuronidase (gus), and hygromycin-phosphotransferase (hpt) genes were used for gene transfer. A number of parameters such as preculture of explains, wounding of leaf explants, Agrobacterium growth phase (OD), infection duration, co-cultivation period, co-cultivation medium pH, and acetosyringone, were studied to optimized transformation efficiency. The highest transformation efficiency was achieved using 4-day precultured, non-wounded leaf explants infected with Agrobacterium culture corresponding to OD(600)=0.6 for 20 min, followed by co-cultivation for 4 days in a co-cultivation medium containing 100 mu M acetosyringone, pH 5.7. Co-cultivated leaf explants were initially cultured on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 2.27 mu M thidiazuron (TDZ) for regeneration of shoot buds, followed by selection on same medium with 5 mu g ml(-1) hygromycin. Selected shoot buds were transferred to MS medium containing 10 mu M kinetin (Kn), 4.5 mu M 6-benzyl aminopurine (BA), and 5.5 mu M alpha-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) for proliferation. The proliferated shoots were elongated on MS medium supplemented with 2.25 mu M BA and 8.5 mu M indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The elongated shoots were rooted on half strength MS medium supplemented with 15 mu M indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), 5.7 mu M IAA, 5.5 mu M NAA, and 0.25 mg l(-1) activated charcoal. GUS histochemical analysis of the transgenic tissues further confirmed the transformation event. PCR and DNA gel blot hybridization were performed to confirm the presence of transgene. A transformation efficiency of 29% was achieved for leaf explants using this protocol. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.