University of MissouriUniversity of Missouri
Zhanyuan Zhang

Zhanyuan Zhang

Director, Research Associate Professor
Plant Transformation Core Facility, Division of Plant Sciences

Web site: MU Plant Transformation Core Facility
Office address: 007A Sears Plant Growth Facility, University of Missouri
Office phone: (573) 882-6922
Fax: (573) 882-1469

Research Interest

Plant Genetic Engineering; Soybean transformation The primary research goal in my laboratory is to develop cutting-edge transgene technologies for soybean (Glycine max) and maize (Zea mays). My research focus is on developing high-throughput transformation processes for soybean and maize and efficient gene regulation in complex genome such as soybean. I am also interested in soybean functional genomics employing reverse genetics tools.


My current research falls into three major areas:
Improvement of Transformation System
Improvement of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of soybean (Glycine max) and maize (Zea mays) is our continuous endower. This research area includes the improvement of T-DNA integration efficiency and quality. The success in this area will make it possible to produce a large number of transgenic soybean lines through transformation-based mutagenesis or RNAi for the discovery of huge number of soybean genes and accelerate soybean engineering efforts. Transformation of maize inbred lines is highly desirable but has been very inefficient worldwide. Therefore, it is essential to develop efficient maize inbred transformation systems using simple binary vector system.

Efficient RNAi for Gene Regulation
Efficient gene regulation in complex genome background such as soybean represents a new challenge in transgene technology. RNAi technology has been shown to be a powerful tool to accomplish this goal. Our current focus is on design and implement of efficient RNAi in soybean. We are now exploring several strategies in improving the efficacy of RNAi in this crop. The experience and lessons we learn from down-regulation of several important soybean genes should be applicable for regulation of other genes in soybean. In addition, transgenic soybean lines developed in these studies can be used as breeding materials for soybean trait improvement.

Functional Genomics
Transposon mutagenesis has been demonstrated to have a great utility in tagging genes in the plant genome. We are now actively collaborating on this project with several other institutions. Our goal is to tag a large number of soybean genes with special interest in seed traits. Tagged genes will be mapped to the soybean physical map. Mutant soybean lines and genes whose functions are identified in this study will be a good resource for the soybean research community.

Selected Publications