Texas Tech University

IGCAST Research in Progress

The meristem: a pathway to transform cotton plants

meristem research cotton plant IGCAST

Start Date: 8/2019

Principle Investigator: Dr. Luis Herrera-Estrella, Director, IGCAST

Abstract: The transfer of genes from one organism to another is a natural process that creates variation in biological traits. This concept underlies all attempts to improve agriculturally important species expressing good agronomic characteristics. The advantage of genetic engineering is that it can help to improve plant characters by the direct transfer of one or just a few genes; and, the crop improvement can be achieved in a shorter time compared to conventional breeding. Tissue culture techniques are widely used to create genetically engineered plants. However, this technique is extremely laborious. Therefore, in our lab, we are exploring and applying concepts within the field of developmental biology to improve the obtention of genetically modified plants without culture tissue techniques. We are taking advantage of determination of cell fate in shoot meristem as a pathway to ensure stable inheritance of transferred genes in the progeny of cotton plants. 

Collaborators: Dr. Dolores Alanis-Gutierrez, Postdoctoral Research Associate, IGCAST and Dr. Lenin E. Yong-Villalobos, Postdoctoral Research Associate, IGCAST

Epigenetic strategies for cotton improvement

cotton boll

Start Date: 1/2020

Principle Investigator: Dr. Luis Herrera-Estrella, Director, IGCAST

Abstract: The hypothesis of this proposal is that chemically or genetically induced methylation changes in cotton can generate epialleles to produce new varieties that address the increasing challenges of cotton production. These challenges are directly correlated with yield performance, fiber yield and quality, environmental factors such as drought and soil fertility, and biological factors such as plant pests and diseases. Hence, cotton crop production can highly benefit from cotton epigenomics to enhance its performance in adverse environmental conditions. It is expected that epigenetic changes could alter gene expression leading to morphological or physiological changes that increase yield. Moreover, it has been reported that changes in DNA methylation and chromatin structure increase recombination frequencies and favor gene amplification processes, therefore, it is possible that by chemically or genetically inducing changes in DNA methylation could lead to an increase in both epigenetic and genetic variants with improved stress tolerance or fiber quality traits.

Collaborators: Dr. Lenin Villalobos-Yong, Postdoctoral Research Associate, IGCAST

Funding By: Cotton Incorporated


Institute of Genomics for Crop Abiotic Stress Tolerance

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    Texas Tech University, Institute of Genomics for Crop Abiotic Stress Tolerance, 1006 Canton Ave, Lubbock, TX 79409
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