Solanaceae transformation center
Research project 25
Project researchers: Dr. Dani Eshel, Dr. Samuel Bocobza, Dr. Ilan Paran and Dr. Moshe Reuveni

Potato

Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is one of the world’s most important crop plants and is the primary carbohydrate source for nutritional and industrial purposes. The development of new potato cultivars using traditional cross-breeding is complicated and slow due to the tetrasomic inheritance and the high heterozygosity of cultivated varieties. Therefore, the recent development of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology allows to efficiently knockout of specific genes, whose impairment may improve a crop trait.

We have developed a method to induce mutations by transient expression of CRISPR/Cas9 elements in potato protoplasts that later were regenerated into fully developed plants. The resulting plants do not contain foreign DNA and are not considered genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Israel (and other countries). Yet, this method is very time-consuming and labor-intensive.

The main goal of this project is to improve the transformation and regeneration efficiency of protoplasts in leading commercial cultivars. Our work plan includes optimization of gene expression in protoplasts to increase the rate of Cas9 induced mutagenesis. Likewise, we intend to use transcription factors involved in morphogenesis to augment the rate of regenerating protoplasts. Efficient screening of regenerated mutant plants will be analyzed by high-resolution fragment analysis (HRFA). This project intends to construct an efficient and robust protocol to produce non-transgenic genome-edited potato cultivars.

Research project 25 - Dr. Dani Eshel, Dr. Samuel Bocobza, Dr. Ilan Paran and Dr. Moshe Reuveni
Dividing potato protoplast six days after transformation.
מחקר מס' 25 - ד"ר דני אשל, ד"ר שמואל בוקובזא, ד"ר אילן פארן וד"ר משה ראובני
Mutant non transgenic potato plants regenerated from potato protoplasts.

Pepper

To date, the transformation and regeneration of pepper (Capsicum annum) are very challenging to obtain, have a meager success rate. While there are published reports on pepper regeneration and transformation, the presented results are not reproducible or use unique accessions that are not readily available.

Pepper regeneration
Pepper regeneration
Microscopy analysis of the regenerated pepper plants
Microscopy analysis of the regenerated pepper plants

To achieve pepper genomic editing and test the knockout of target genes, a reliable and reproducible transformation/regeneration system needs to be developed. In particular, we plan to use CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome editing combined with optimized use of plant tissue regeneration factors.

Dr. Dani Eshel 
Project researcher

Postharvest and Food Sciences, Department of Postharvest Science, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Dani Eshel
  • Dormancy release and apical dominance in tubers and bulbs.
  • Alternative methods to inhibit sprouting of stored tubers, roots and bulbs.
  • Caspase like proteins and their role in programmed cell death and autophagy.
  • Combining environment friendly methods to synergistically improve postharvest disease control.

Dr. Samuel Bocobza 
Project researcher

Dep. Ornamental Plants and Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

ד"ר שמואל בוקובזא
  • The differentiation, regeneration, and transformation of plant cells.
  • Our laboratory develops a systematic approach to advance genetic engineering in crops by combining genome editing and somatic embryogenesis technologies.

Dr. Ilan Paran 
Project researcher

Dep. Vegetable and Field Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Ilan Paran

Email: iparan@volcani.agri.gov.il

Phone: +972-3-9683464

Website: Dr. Ilan Paran

Research areas:

  • Development of molecular tools for improvement of pepper (Capsicum).
  • Characterization and utilization of natural and induced variation for pepper improvement.
  • Molecular mapping and identification of major genes and QTLs controlling fruit yield and quality traits in pepper. Marker-assisted selection of pepper.
  • Development of breeding lines containing disease resistance genes and molecular markers for use in marker-assisted selection.
  • Study the genetic and molecular control of growth architecture and transition to flowering in pepper.

Dr. Moshe Reuveni 
Project researcher

Dep. Ornamental Plants and Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Moshe Reuveni

Email: vhmoshe@agri.gov.il

Phone: +972-3-9683874

Website: Dr. Moshe Reuveni

Research areas:

  • Molecular events during shoot regeneration in plant tissue culture.
  • Developing tissue culture methods for ornamentals

Research partners:

Dr. Paula Teper-Bamnolker

Dr. Paula Teper-Bamnolker
Lab manager
of Dr. Danny Eshel

Email: paula@agri.gov.il

Research areas:
Improving the potato postharvest traits by genomic editing.
Development and improvement of transformation system in potato.

Institution:
Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Dana Ayzenshtat

Dr. Dana Ayzenshtat
Lab manager
of Dr. Samuel Bocobza

Email: adana@volcani.agri.gov.il

Institution:
Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Bolaji Babajide Salam

Dr. Bolaji Babajide Salam
Postdoctoral researcher

Research areas:
Improving potato traits by genomic editing.

Institution:
Department of Agricultural Product Research, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.

Dr. Gulzar Rather

Dr. Gulzar Rather
Postdoctoral researcher

Institution:
Plant Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Institute.