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  • Development of an in vitro propagation method for the classified New York State-threatened native species Agrimonia rostellata 2015

    Van Eck, J., Keen, P., and Nuzzo, V.
    Native Plants J 16,  227-233
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  • A cascade of arabinosyltransferases controls shoot meristem size in tomato 2015

    Xu, C., Liberatore, K.L., MacAlister, C.A., Huang, Z., Chu, Y.H., Jiang, K., Brooks, C., Ogawa-Ohnishi, M., Xiong, G., Pauly, M., Van Eck, .J, Matsubayashi, Y., van der Knaap, E., Lippman, Z.B.
    Nat Genets 47,  784-792
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  • Efficient gene editing in tomato in the first Generation using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated9 system. 2014

    Brooks, C., Nekrasov, V., Lippman, Z.B., and Van Eck, J.
    Plant Physiology 166,  1292-1297
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  • A snapshot of the emerging tomato genome sequence 2009

    The Tomato Genome Consortium.
    The Plant Genome 2,  78-92
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  • The Tomato Sequencing Project, the First Cornerstone of the International Solanaceae Project (SOL) 2005

    Mueller, L. A., Tanksley, S.D., Giovannoni, J., Van Eck, J., Stack, S., Choi, D., Kim, B.D., Chen, M., Cheng, Z., Li, C., Ling, H., Xue, Y., Seymour, G., Bishop, G., Bryan, G., Sharma, R., Khurana, J., Tyagi, A., Chattopadhyay, D., Singh, N.K., Stiekema, W., Lindhout, P., Jesse, T., Lankhorst, R.K., Bouzayen, M., Shibata, D., Tabata, S., Granell, A., Botella, M.A., Giuliano, G., Frusciante, L., Causse, M., and Zamir, D.
    Comparative and Functional Genomics 6,  153-158
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  • Genetic Control and Comparative Genomic Analysis of Flowering Time in Setaria (Poaceae) 2013

    Mauro-Herrera, M., Wang, X., Barbier, H., Brutnell, T.P., Devos, K.M., and Doust, A.N.
    G3 (Bethesda) 3(2),  283–295
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  • actors influencing plant regeneration from seedling explants of Hairy nightshade (Solanum sarrachoides) 2012

    Ju, H.J., Van Eck, J., and Gray, S.M.
    Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 108,  121-128
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  • The Or gene enhances carotenoid accumulation and stability during post-harvest storage of potato tubers 2012

    Li, L., Yang, Y., Xu, Q., Owsiany, K., Welsch, R., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Lu, S., Van Eck, J., Deng, X.X., Failla, M., and Thannhauser, T.W.
    Molecular Plant 5,  339-352
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  • Engineering virus resistance using a modified potato gene 2011

    Cavatorta, J., Perez, K.W., Gray, S.M., Van Eck, J., Yeam, I., and Jahn, M.
    Plant Biotechnol. J. 9,  1014-1021
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  • Setaria viridis: a model for C4 photosynthesis 2010

    Brutnell, T.P., Wang, L., Swartwood, K., Goldschmidt, A., Jackson, D., Zhu, X.G., Kellogg, E., and Van Eck, J.
    Plant Cell 22,  2537-2544
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  • Modulation of carotenoid accumulation in transgenic potato by inducing chromoplast formation with enhanced sink strength 2010

    Van Eck, J., Zhou, X., Lu, S., and Li, L.
    Methods Mol. Biol. 643,  77-93
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  • Continued expression of plant-made vaccines following long-term cryopreservation of antigen-expressing tobacco cell cultures 2009

    Van Eck, J., and Keen, P.
    Vitro Cell. Dev-Pl. 45,  750-757
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  • Effect of the cauliflower Or transgene on carotenoid accumulation and chromoplast formation in transgenic potato tubers 2008

    Lopez, A.B., Van Eck, J., Conlin, B.J., Paolillo, D.J., O'Neill , J., and Li, L.
    J. Exp. Bot. 59,  213-223
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  • Use of the cauliflower Or gene for improving crop nutritional quality 2008

    Zhou, X., Van Eck, J., and Li, L.
    Biotechnology Annual Review 14,  171-190
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  • Tomato 2007

    Labate, A., Grandillo, S., Fulton, T., Muños, S., Caicedo, A.L., Peralta, I., Ji, Y., Chetelat, R.T., Scott, J.W., Gonzalo, M.J., Francis, D., Yang, W., van der Knaap, E., Baldo, A.M., Smith-White, B., Mueller, L.A., Prince, J.P., Blanchard, N.E., Storey, D.B., Stevens, M.R., Robbins, M.D., Wang, J.-F., Liedl, B.E., O’Connell, M.A., Stommel, J.R., Aoki, K., Iijima, Y., Slade, A.J., Hurst, S.R., Loeffler, D., Steine, M.N., Vafeados, D., McGuire, C., Freeman, C., Amen, A., Goodstal, J., Facciotti, D., VanEck, J., and Causs, M.
    Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding in Plants 5,Vegetables. (C Kole ed.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York,  pp 1: 131
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  • Tomato Transformation: Nuclear and Chloroplast Genomes 2004

    Van Eck, J., Walmsey, A.M., and Daneill, H.
    Transgenic Crops of the World: Essential Protocols 405-423
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  • Organogenesis from Transformed Tomato Explants 2004

    Frary, A., and Van Eck, J.
    Transgenic Plants: Methods and Protocols 286,  141-150
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  • Metabolomics of plant saponins: Bioprospecting triterpene glycoside diversity with respect to mammalian cell targets 2002

    Joshi, L., Van Eck, J.M., Mayo, K., Di Silvestro, R., Blake (Nieto), M.E., Ganapathi, T., Haridas, V., Gutterman, J.U., and Arntzen, C.J.
    OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology 6,  235-246
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  • A new class of regulatory genes underlying the cause of pear-shaped tomato fruit 2002

    Liu, J., Van Eck, J., Cong, B., and Tanksley, S.D.
    P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 99,  13302-13306
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  • Transgenic Gladiolus 2001

    Kamo, K., Roh, M., Blowers, A., Smith, F., and Van Eck, J.
    P. S. Bajaj (ed.). Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry 48,  155-170
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  • Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of embryogenic cell suspensions of the banana cultivar Rasthali (AAB) 2001

    Ganapathi, T.R., Higgs, N.S., Balint-Kurti, P.J., Arntzen, C.J., May, G.D., and Van Eck, J.
    Plant Cell Reports 20,  157-162
    Full text...

Intern Projects

The focus of research in the Van Eck laboratory is biotechnological approaches in the study of gene function and crop improvement.  The development of biotechnological techniques has made it possible to design and introduce gene constructs into plant cells with the subsequent recovery of plants that express the introduced genes.

We have a summer intern position available on a collaborative NSF-funded project to study the networks involved in meristem transitions in plants and their roles in branching variation and flower production.  Together with our collaborators on this project, we have established an approach that utilizes genetic, genomic, natural variation, and biotechnological tools in tomato and related Solanaceae species to identify and characterize the underlying molecular networks regulating shoot architecture and flower production in plants that exhibit the widespread “sympodial” growth habit.

The Van Eck lab’s role in this project is to develop efficient genetic engineering methods for several Solanaceaefamily members to determine candidate gene involvement in meristem transition and branching across species.  In addition, we are responsible for phenotypic analysis of the resultant transgenic lines that we grow in the BTI greenhouse.

Click the links to return to the Intern FacultyInternship Program,  Apply for an Internship pages on the BTI website.



    • Technology Area: Nutritional Quality
    • Title: Or gene and its use in manipulating carotenoid content and composition in plants and other organisms
    • US Patent/Application(s): 8,071,841
    • Publication: J Exp Botany 2008
    • Technology Area: Enabling Technology – Virus, Vaccines
    • Title: Vectors and Cells for Preparing Immunoprotective Compositions Derived from Transgenic Plants
    • US Patent/Application(s): 7,132,291
    • Additional Lead Inventor(s): Hugh Mason
    • Technology Area: Enabling Technology – Virus, Vaccines
    • Title: Vectors and Cells for Preparing Immunoprotective Compositions Derived from Transgenic Plants
    • US Patent/Application(s): 7,407,802
    • Additional Lead Inventor(s): Hugh Mason

Research Utilization

Transformation Technology and Plant Nutrition

The focus of research in the Van Eck laboratory is biotechnological approaches for the study of gene function and crop improvement. The lab focuses on developing genetic transformation technology. This makes it possible to design and introduce gene constructs into plant cells, which subsequently regenerate into plants with altered phenotypes.

The Van Eck group is experienced in the design of tissue culture and Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation methods, which can be used to 1) study gene function, 2) unravel the intricacies of metabolic networks, and 3) further the development of novel model systems to discover genes that can be used to improve crop species. Most recently, the Van Eck group has developed transformation systems for the rapid cycling C4 grass, Setaria viridis, which is expected to become a valuable model system for corn, and forTaxus, in order to make it possible to metabolically engineer this species to produce higher quantities of taxol; Taxol is used as a chemotherapy treatment. Currently, they are developing methods for Asclepias(milkweed) and Solidago (goldenrod) because both have the potential to be used as model systems for the study of plant/insect interactions.

In addition to developing transformation technology, the Van Eck group also performs transformations on a fee for service basis. The plant species they transform routinely include tomato, potato, Brachypodium distachyon, Setaria viridis, Medicago truncatula, Nicotiana benthamiana, N. tabacum, and NT1 suspension cultures.

The Van Eck laboratory has collaborated with Dr. Li Li’s lab, at the USDA Federal Nutrition Lab on the Cornell campus, to study the Or gene, which was discovered as a dominant mutation in cauliflower that promotes chromoplast development, resulting in orange florets and substantially increased carotenoid accumulation. When transferred to potato, the mutant cauliflower Or gene enhances carotenoid accumulation in tubers, which increases further during cold storage. This gene has substantial promise to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, a cause of childhood blindness and death. A second approach takes a different metabolic strategy in the same pathway that has been modified in Golden Rice. The Crtb gene product transforms beta-carotene, a Vitamin A precursor, into zeaxanthin. Silencing this gene in potato results in beta-carotene levels about 30 times higher than in wild-type plants. These two approaches have great promise to increase beta-carotene and thus enhance the vitamin A content of vegetables and grains.

Collaboration and Consulting Opportunities

  • Service: Creating transgenics to demonstrate gene efficacy
  • Collaboration: Plant transformation system development and improvement
  • Consulting: Transferring technology to enable transformation in C3 or C4 models
  • Collaboration or Licensing: Manipulation of plastid maturation and carotenoid biosynthesis to increase beta-carotene accumulation

In the News

Research Overview

The focus of research in the Van Eck laboratory is biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement. For our studies, we apply several genetic engineering strategies to two major food crops: potato and tomato. The development of biotechnological techniques has made it possible to design and introduce gene constructs into plant cells and recover plants that express the introduced genes. Genes of interest to us have the potential to strengthen a plant’s resistance to disease, improve fruit characteristics, and enhance nutritional quality.