Soybean Cyst Nematode:
The soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycines, is the major pest of commercially grown soybean in the United States. It is estimated that root infection by SCN is responsible for a yield loss of between 250 million and one billion dollars annually. A better understanding of early gene responses in soybean nematode infection and the resulting defense response or lack thereof increases the number and kinds of approaches that can be used to control pathogen infection of soybean. The knowledge gained from this research will aid in the development of new approaches with the potential to greatly increase the yield of soybean and its use in different crop rotations and soil conditions.
Nematode Infected Soybean Roots
Premature separation (abscission) of flowers and fruit reduces the potential yield of many crops. We study the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in abscission with the goal of engineering plants possessing beneficial abscission characteristics that not only increase yield but also reduce harvesting costs. Ethylene is a plant hormone that controls many aspects of abscission and senescence. Ethylene physiology and signal transduction are an important part of our abscission studies.