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Plant Biotechnology

Within the Department there is a strong research interest in the micropropagation (mass production by tissue culture) of selected crops (e.g. cassava) and of South African indigenous plants. Particular emphasis is placed on the mass production of plants via the developmental process known as ?somatic embryogenesis?. The somatic embryos that are produced are used in both genetic transformation and cryopreservation studies. 

Genetic transformation involves the insertion of new genes into the plant tissues using the microorganism Agrobacterium. Cryopreservation is the storage of tissues at temperatures below -70 oC and is an ideal method for the long-term conservation of South Africa s plant genetic resources.


  • Dr David Mycock
  • Dr Vincent Gray