Researcher Receives $400,000 to Continue Study of GM Plants

Molecular Biologist Hong Luo of Clemson University has been awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue his research on genetically improving economically important plants without turning them into environmental problems.

"Many people do not realize that turfgrass is part of the state's green industry, the No. 2 agriculture sector in South Carolina," said Luo. "We are looking at how to help it grow in stressful environments, such as drought or where the water may have a high salinity level."

Aside from turfgrass, Luo's research team also studies switchgrass for biofuel, soybeans, and cotton. Along with regulating the traits of these plants for them to thrive, they also genetically modify them to improve their tolerance to various environmental stresses. Research is also being done on how to sterilize trait-enhanced plants to prevent transgene escape using molecular breeding methods.

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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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