KSEF RDE: Developing a Tissue Culture and Gene Transformation Platform for Industrial Hemp

Grants and Contracts Details


With the passage of Kentucky's Senate Bill 50 and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill, the state of Kentucky is poised to become the leader in research, development, and production of industrial hemp and products. Hemp crops will inevitably face critical challenges, such as weeds, insects, diseases and metabolic/physiological constraints, that could reduce yield and crop quality. Biotechnology can play a vital role in overcoming these issues. A fundamental platform enabling plant biotechnology is the ability to perform tissue culture and transformation of genes into targeted plants. However, this technology platform is not well established for hemp, thus affecting the advancement of hemp research and development. Here we propose to establish and optimize techniques for hemp tissue culture and gene transformation. We will investigate the optimal conditions for growth media, tissue regeneration, shoot formation, antibiotic/herbicide selection and plant growth. We will also construct gene expression vectors targeting important traits, such as flowering time, trichome modification, leaf morphology, as well as vectors enabling precision genome editing that will allow targeted gene knockout and other modifications. We will develop protocols for gene transformation via Agrobacteria or biolistic-particle delivery. This project promotes and capitalizes on interaction and collaboration between the PI, who has extensive experience and achievement in plant molecular biology and biotechnology, and the co-PI who is an accomplished agronomist and leads the UK hemp program. The PI has more than 20 years of research experience in abovementioned specific traits. His lab has the necessary know-how and equipment to conduct work on tissue culture and gene transformation. The co-PI will provide germplasms for the project and evaluate field performance of transformed plants. This project will also involve a Ph.D. graduate student, Craig Schluttenhofer, thus contributing to the training of future researchers for hemp agriculture.
Effective start/end date7/1/156/30/16


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $30,000.00


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