Soybeans are the most economical source of protein for human foods and the animal industry. Soybean seeds contain 35 to 55% of protein on a dry weight basis and an important source of edible vegetable oil throughout the world. However, the protein fraction has nutritional deficiencies, such as a low level of sulfur bearing amino acids, and antinutritional components, such as the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor and the human allergen P34. Modification of these components could make soybean a more valuable protein source. Genetic approaches have been used to eliminate the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor, reduce the expression of P34, and introduce numerous other transgenes into soybeans. However, there is limited literature regarding collateral or unintended effects of these transgenic modifications. Unlike traditional breeding, recombinant DNA technology permits the transfer of genetic material from unrelated species, and this is precisely why a safety assessment is necessary. Safety assessment of transgenic crops provides assurances that toxic or allergenic compounds are not transferred along with the desired trait when new DNA is introduced into an organism. At present, safety assessments of transgenic crops using proteomics tools are limited. Therefore, my research program will focus on developing and evaluating various proteomics tools, which have the potential for risk assessment of transgenic soybean and other genetically modified Crops.
Primary Research Goals
Study the natural variation of seed proteins in a wide range of soybean using proteomics.
Determine the collateral variation in seed composition between crop plants developed using genetic engineering, mutagenesis and classical breeding.