Pre-Conference Workshop Day
Tuesday, February 14


Transformation & Regeneration
09:00 – 12:00

For many crops or plants, the lack of an efficient transformation system for genetic modification is the single biggest factor prohibiting research to elucidate mechanisms for increased yield and improved quality. Considering this, effective plant transformation remains the most sought after technology for functional genomics and crop genetic improvement, especially for introducing specific new traits and to modify or recombine already existing traits. Thus, the ability to effectively transform and regenerate is a major hurdle in progressing gene editing applications within the ag bio field.

Today, transformation to produce genetically engineered crops is the fastest and most widely adopted technology in agriculture. The rapidly increasing number of sequenced plant genomes and information from functional genomics data to understand gene function, together with novel gene cloning and tissue culture methods, is further accelerating crop improvement and trait development. Despite the success, transformation remains a bottleneck because many plant species and crop genotypes are recalcitrant to established tissue culture and regeneration conditions, or they show poor transformability.

This workshop will set out to:

  • Discuss efforts to develop flexible and highly efficient transformation systems with broad applications
  • Explore how advancements in transformation approaches combined with improvements in vector design allow you to increase frequency and improve quality of gene insertion events
  • Assess the use of alternate selectable markers for recalcitrant crops
  • Discuss how to transform uncooperative crops for regeneration and transformation via tissue culture media optimization
  • Uncover how single cell regeneration reduces time to market?

Workshop Leader


Yunde Zhao
Professor Cell & Developmental Biology
University of California, San Diego


CRISPR Mediated Chromosome Engineering: A New Frontier for Plant Breeding
13:00 – 16:00

The advent of genome editing techniques has enabled precise genome manipulation and in turn revolutionized plant breeding. Until recently, the main focus of researchers has been to simply knock-in or knock-out single genes, or to induce single base changes, but constant improvements of this technology have enabled more ambitious applications that aim to improve plant productivity or other desirable traits.

One long-standing aim has been the induction of targeted chromosomal rearrangements (crossovers, inversions, or translocations). The feasibility of this technique has the potential to transform plant breeding, because natural rearrangements, like inversions, for example, typically present obstacles to the breeding process. In this way, genetic linkages between traits could be altered to combine or separate favorable and deleterious genes, respectively.

This workshop will set out to:

  • Discuss recent breakthroughs in the field of chromosome engineering in plants and their potential applications in the field of plant breeding.
  • Understand how such approaches can shape plant chromosomes in a directed manner, based on plant breeding needs.