by Dr. Muhammad Tahir, Assistant Professor and Head of Plant Biotechnology Dept, ASAB
Entitled "Development and validation of cotton-infecting begomoviral induced cell death via a modified betasatellite containing the Cyt c gene" worth US$292,000/-. The funding agency is USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) and ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. Cotton Leaf Curl Disease (CLCuD), caused by begomoviruses, is the major biotic limitation to cotton production. The project is based on a statement "to make friends from foe". It is a novel idea of programmed cell death induced by the virus on infection. The transgenic plants will be produced using one of the two components of the begomovirus with slight modifications. On infection by the begomovirus, the modified component will trigger cell death; the infected cell will be dead. Hence the virus will neither be available for transmission within the plant nor for whitefly (vector) transmission to other plants.