Keerti Rathore Ph, D., Professor
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
Office Phone: 979-862-4795
Lab room number: 116/117
My current research interests are in the genetic improvement of important dicot (cotton, potato and tomato) and monocot (rice and sorghum) crops. Protocols for efficient delivery of genes, optimal expression of transgenes, genome editing and rapid recovery of engineered cotton, potato, rice, and sorghum plants have been established in my laboratory. These procedures are being used to conduct both basic and applied research pertaining to crop improvement. Projects include regeneration from cell & tissue cultures, use of new reporter and selectable marker genes to understand and improve the transformation process, isolation and characterization of important genes and their promoters, enhancement of disease resistance in plants, conferring draught tolerance to crop plants, conferring pest resistance to crop plants, improving nutritional quality of seeds, and production of recombinant antibodies and vaccines in plants.
Two projects highlight my philosophy and current research emphasis. Ultra-low Gossypol Cottonseed (ULGCS) project, conceived and developed in my laboratory, has reached an important milestone with deregulation of the ULGCS trait by USDA-APHIS and is awaiting FDA approval. Its worldwide adoption can potentially help meet the protein requirements of over 500 million people. The second collaborative project with Mexican scientists, that involves expression of the ptxD gene in a crop plant in combination with phosphite fertilization, provides an effective alternative to control weeds while reducing the environmental footprints of modern agriculture.
I have sought to disseminate the knowledge and expertise gained over three decades of work through lectures at local, national and international levels and by providing training to students, postdoctoral scientists and International visitors in different aspects of agricultural biotechnology.