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Leaf of cassava expressing the
visual marker gene GFP under
control of the 35S promoter.
Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Terry Woodford-Thomas, Ph.D.,
Plant Tissue Culture,
Xuemin (Sam) Wang, Ph.D.,
Developmental Biology,
University of Bath, UK
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
University of Kentucky
The tropical root crop cassava State University
(Manihot esculenta) is of central
The broad area of the lab’s research
is to elucidate the regulatory
My research has focused on the
importance to food security and
processes that mediate plant
design, production and analysis
local economies throughout the
responses to stress, growth,
of plant-made vaccines against
tropics, most especially in Africa.
and seed oil accumulation. The
human and animal diseases,
Transgenic technologies hold
main focus is to discover and
including the development of
great potential for improving
understand how membrane lipids
strategies to ensure their biosafety.
the economic and nutritional
The utility of soybean as an efficient
wellbeing of resource-poor farmers
and phospholipases function
platform for the production and
in these region for whom cassava
as signaling messengers and
oral delivery of recombinant
is a dietary staple. Research in the
cellular mediators. Studies are
vaccines was demonstrated using
Taylor group and as a component
targeted at traits with potential
the B subunit of heat labile toxin
of the International Laboratory
to improve plant biomass and
vegetable oil production with
(LTB) of enterotoxigenic Escherichia
for Tropical Agricultural
minimal environmental impacts.
coli. To meet future biosafety
Biotechnology (ILTAB), focuses on
Ongoing projects include studies
standards for the production of
developing technologies required
of the role of membrane-based
recombinant pharmaceuticals in
to produce genetically enhanced
signaling cascades that mediate
food crops, a safe and versatile
cassava plants expressing genes
plant water use efficiency and
gene switch technology has been
which confer resistance to
drought tolerance, plant response
adapted for use in soybean seed
virus diseases and enhance the
to nitrogen and phosphorus
to tightly regulate the temporal
nutritional value of cassava storage
deficiency, and transcriptional and
expression of recombinant genes.
roots. Central to these efforts is
translational regulation of seed
This system has been used to
research to discover improved
oil and biomass production. Our
temporally and spatially control
morphogenic plant tissue culture
long-term goal is to understand the
transgene expression in soybean
systems from parental varieties
molecular mechanisms by which
somatic embryos and in maturing
and to increase our understanding
plants respond to limited water
soybean seeds in planta.
of the genetic elements controlling
transgene integration and
and nutrients with the goal to
Expression of
expression within the cassava
optimize growth and oil production eGFP is temporally
plant. Building partnerships with
under conditions of stress. The lab
controlled in
African research organizations,
uses multidisciplinary approaches
training African scientists and
and both model and crop plants. cotyledonary
transferring the above technologies
In addition, it continues to
embryos by
to laboratories in sub-Saharan
develop enabling metabalomic
with Intrepid.
Africa remain central to our goal
technologies, such as quantitative
Photographs were
of delivering enhanced cassava to
profiling of lipids and growth taken 48 hours
farmers in the tropics.
post induction.
16 2008 Annual Report
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