The Plant Biotechnology Lab is located in the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University. It consists of two labs, plant transformation lab and molecular breeding lab.The Plant transformation lab has growth chambers, incubators, autoclaves, laminar flow hoods, microscopes and a thermo controlled culture room.The Molecular breeding lab is equipped to be able to conduct cloning genes, DNA and RNA preparation and purification, PCR and electrophoresis. Major equipment include thermal cyclers, gel imaging systems, spectrophotometers, centrifuges, freezers, incubators and shakers.
The unit’s research interests are in molecular breeding. The goal is to develop fruit and vegetable varieties by optimizing the health benefit of bioactive compounds for consumers using marker assisted selection. The Genetic transformation approach is also taken to enhance the level of carotenoids in muskmelon and limonoids in citrus. The Plant Biotechnology Lab tries to understand the molecular genetic basis and regulation mechanism of phytochemial biosynthesis, such as carotenoids and flavonoids. The lab has been identifying and characterizing key enzymes involved in carotenoid and flavonoid biosynthetic pathway in carrots and onions.
- Development of molecular markers linked to restorer-of-fertility (ms) gene in onion
- Elucidating phytochemical biosynthesis mechanism in carrot by biochemical and molecular approaches.
- Determining feasibility of grapefruit transformation to elevate limonoid glucoside and reduce bitter compound by genetic engineering approach.
- Genetic transformation to enhance the beta-carotene level in melon fruits.