STTR Phase II: Constitutive Promoters for Crop Improvement

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
GrassRoots Biotechnology
302 East Pettigrew St., Suite 200-A, Durham, NC, 27701
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Tedd Elich
(919) 747-7406
Business Contact:
Tedd Elich
(919) 747-7406
Research Institution:
University of California-Davis
Tedd Elich
Davis One Shields Avenue Davis
Davis, CA, 95616
(919) 536-8621
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project seeks to identify new and improved promoters to create enhanced genetically modified crops. Plant biotechnology relies on the insertion of promoter-gene constructs into plants. The promoter is the portion of DNA that controls when and where a gene is expressed. The relatively few plant promoters in use today have significant limitations including inconsistent effects across different growing conditions and a lack of predictability. This project involves developing and implementing a novel pipeline for promoter discovery that starts with a sophisticated bioinformatics analysis to identify high confidence promoter candidates. Using fluorescent reporters and confocal imaging, these candidates are assessed in transgenic plants for cell-type-specific expression, developmental-stage-specific expression, and responsiveness to environmental stimuli. This pipeline was validated in the Phase I component of the project where four novel and patentable constitutive promoters were identified. The broader impacts of this research are the development of superior genetically modified crops. Genetically modified plants already play an important role in world agricultural production and will play a central role in averting widespread food shortages in the future. In addition, substantial research is being conducted to improve bioenergy crops though genetic engineering. Genetically enhanced bioenergy crops are predicted to play a key role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. A critical innovation that will facilitate advances in all of these areas will be the introduction of new and enhanced plant promoters.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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