Lab Focus


Our aim is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of jute. In this respect the focus of our laboratory for many years has been to develop methods to understand jute at the molecular level. Jute is a self pollinated crop with cross incompatibility among the two cultivated species, Corchorus capsularis and Corchorus olitorius. Therefore our initial research on jute concentrated on determining the extent of polymorphisms in the jute cultivars. After preliminary and successful attempts using non-specific RAPD primers in determining the genetic relatedness of the cultivars, we generated jute specific primers for further study on jute polymorphisms. We have produced a few sparse maps using such primers, however our focus now is to produce a dense molecular map of jute.

Since the two cultivated species can not be crossed therefore any attempt to improve jute in terms of growth, yield or quality has to depend on genetic transformation. Thus one of the goals of our lab was to develop a simple and efficient transformation protocol of jute. In attempts by quite a few research labs to transform jute using tissue culture-base techniques the fibre crop was found to be recalcitrant. We turned our attention to in-planta method of genetic transformation. A couple of years ago our laboratory reported a successful and efficient protocol for genetic transformation of jute using techniques independent of tissue culture. Using this approach my team is now working on developing jute crop capable of withstanding not only the challenges faced in growing in inhospitable terrains due to pressure for growing more food but also the threats posed by climate change.

We are currently trying to characterize a number of putative jute genes which show very strong response under different stress conditions, both biotic and abiotic. Work is underway in determining the function and the location of these more