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McNair Scholar 2014Jade Mathre

Jade Mathre is an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is a double major in genetics, cell biology and development, and in plant biology. After attaining a Ph.D. in genetics, he aspires to develop novel plants through genetic engineering technologies.

Jade Mathre photo
I dream of a future in which I conduct research developing genetic engineering technologies. These tools may hopefully be used to cultivate plants with novel traits, designed to solve current sustainability problems and facilitate the advancement of humankind.

Research project

Geminivirus Delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 for Plant Genome Engineering

Abstract: With the characterization and optimization of genome editing reagents, like CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats/CRISPR associated protein 9), the limiting factor is becoming the means of delivery for these reagents. Homologous recombination-mediated genome edits require a donor template of DNA for repair along with a protein containing a DNA-targeting domain and a nuclease domain (plus a guide-RNA for CRISPRs). Geminiviruses present a possible means of delivering these in high quantities. To further explore the potential of geminiviruses, the virus was used to deliver the reagents to repair a knocked out beta-glucuronidases (GUS) gene in N. benthamiana. Geminiviruses were constructed containing the necessary reagents, along with different guide-RNAs. Using Agrobacterium the geminivirus was infiltrated into N. benthamiana leaves and delivered on transfer-DNA to leaves. The effectiveness of each guide-RNA was determined by GUS staining. The pending results will allow further experimentation, optimizing geminiviruses as means of delivery of CRISPR/Cas9. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Dan Voytas is a professor and the Director of the Center for Genome Engineering at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is also the Chief Science Officer at Cellectis plant sciences. Dr. Voytas attended Harvard University Medical School where he received a Ph.D. in genetics and conducted his post-doctoral work at John Hopkins University. His research focuses on genome engineering, primarily in plants. Charactering and developing the reagents and methods of delivery have been a focus of his lab. The resulting research concerning the means of genetic modification has been prolific and highly cited.