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Plant genetic engineering will be essential to decipher the genomic basis of complex traits, optimize crop genomics, and enable plant-based production of recombinant proteins; but it depends upon the delivery of genes across the plant cell wall which is commonly known as transformation. Therefore, transformation represents a bottleneck for the genetic manipulation of plants. Established plant genetic transformation methods rely heavily on Agrobacterium to mediate transformation, even though this approach is plant species limited and leads to unintended effects due to random transgene insertion in the plant genome, therefore is fraught with limitations. Although nanoparticle-mediated methods show great promise for advancing plant biotechnology, many engineered nanomaterials can have cytotoxic and ecological effects. My research demonstrates the efficient uptake of a nano-biocompatible carrier of plasmid DNA and transient expression of a reporter gene in leaves of Arabidopsis, common ice plant, and tobacco, as well as in the developing seed tissues of barley, and wheat. The nano-biocompatible transformation system has all the advantages of other nanoparticle-mediated approaches for passive delivery of genetic cargo into a variety of plant species and is also nontoxic to cells and the environment. They can be useful for diverse biotechnological applications in plant biology and crop science.

First Advisor

Bernie Wone

Research Area

Biology, Med-bio