Biotechnology and Genomics
The Center for Biotechnology and Genomics was established with an earmarked federal grant in 2000 and has since been supported by an annual Federal Administration Grant.
Research scientists at the Center have established a state-of-art biotechnology research facility, including 4 laboratories for plant molecular biology and genomics, plant tissue culture and genetic transformation, plant breeding, and plant pathology with the aid of other federal research and teaching grants of more than 3 million dollars.
The major research focus at the Center is to improve sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.), to increase its economic value to U.S. farmers, particularly the limited-resource farmers in Mississippi, using a combination of biotechnology, genomics and traditional breeding approaches.
Currently, research projects at the Center include development of specialty cultivars, e.g. sweetpotatoes containing high starch content, or amylose-free, or high-amylose starch, for value-added industrial and food uses of sweetpotatoes, and disease-resistant cultivars.