Improvement of Transformation Systems

Improvement of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation in major crop such as soybean (Glycine max), maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is our continuous endeavor. This research area includes the improvement of T-DNA integration efficiency and quality, which will make production of transgenic events more cost-effective and further satisfy the need of genome-wide functional analysis of genes in these crop species.

The Facility has been a participant in the ongoing Plant Genome Research Program focusing on cereal crop transformation funded by the National Science Foundation. For project details view our Transforming Cereal Genomics overview.

Small RNA-mediated gene silencing

Efficient gene regulation in complex genome background, such as soybean, represents a new challenge in transgene technology. Small RNA-mediated silencing technology has been shown to be a powerful tool to accomplish this goal. We focus on design and implement of efficient RNAi in soybean. The lab is now exploring several strategies in improving the efficacy of RNAi in this crop.

Coordinated transgene expression

Coordinated transgene expression represents a unique approach to enhance both plant biology study and crop genetic improvement. This approach overcomes the limitations of conventional means to stack genes for studying complex pathways or improving crop traits.

Precise genome modification

Precision genome modification as an emerging transgene technology opens up a new opportunity to plant genetic improvement and biology study. This technology will be the next wave of transgenic approach and could revolutionize conventional breeding. Current focus in the lab is CRISPR/Cas9 technology.