- Borlaug Center 116
Cotton Genetics Research Award; CottonGen; 2011
Ph.D. – Plant Physiology; Imperial College, Univ. of London; UK; 1981
M.Sc. – Plant Sciences; Gujarat University; India; 1976
B.S – Botany, Zoology & Chemistry; Rajasthan University, India; 1973
Dr. Keerti Rathore’s 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.
Our planet faces great challenges as a result of continued population growth, climate change, and environmental degradation. However, Rathore believes we are uniquely poised to enlist the tools of genetic modification, gene editing, and molecular breeding to solve these complex yet interrelated problems. Dr. Rathore transitioned from basic science to applied science in the early 90’s, just as it was becoming clear that tools of biotechnology can be applied to crops to improve agriculture, environment and address the food and nutrition security issues. Two projects highlight Dr. Rathore’s 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.
Dr. Rathore has 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.