Seed Biotechnology LAB


Seed Biotechnology Research Group works closely with Plant Biotechnology, Plant Functional groups and mainly focuses on trait improvement/Commercialization of economically important crops. Insect pest and herbicide resistant traits have been successfully engineered by this group in cotton, corn, and sugarcane. The stable lines of transgenic cotton expressing two (cry1Ac+cry2A) and three (cry1Ac+cry2A+GTG) insecticidal genes introgressed with local cotton cultivars. Punjab Seed Council has approved four double genes (CEMB-33, CA-12, CEMB-66 and CEMB-100) and four triple genes varieties (CKC-01, CKC-03, CKC-06 and CKC-05) of cotton for general cultivation. These varieties have shown tremendous potential in farmers’ fields and have resulted in increased farm productivity.

The Seed Biotechnology Lab also focuses on the use of modern molecular tools for crop improvement. The projects are being carried out to breed biotic stress tolerant crops by utilizing techniques like RNA Interference and CRISPR-Cas9. The formulation of dsRNA based biopesticides against notorious insect pests is also underway.

Besides that, the group is also working on development of local transgenic maize technology to develop Bt, herbicide tolerant F1 maize hybrids in collaboration with local seed industry. The developed transgenic inbred have been approved for contained field trials by National Biosafety Committee, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan. Insect pests and weeds incur significant losses to Soybean and Canola. Regeneration protocols of local soybean and canola varieties are being developed in the laboratory to introduce insecticidal (cry1Ac+cry2A) and herbicidal genes (pat+EPSP synthase) in soybean and canola.

Recently, new research area involving plant metabolic engineering and synthetic biology has been started and major goal of this research is to decipher molecular mechanism underlying plant defense and adaptive responses under continue varying environmental conditions by maneuvering plant metabolic pathways. There is limited information available about biosynthetic pathways of majority of the secondary metabolites and this research is focused on to elucidate such pathways by identifying and characterizing key genes catalyzing rate-limiting steps involved in their biosynthesis. Few of the metabolites, currently, under investigation are gossypol and steroidal glycoalkaloids produced in cotton and potato plants respectively. To achieve it, combination of transcriptomics, metabolomics, analytical chemistry and molecular biology is being employed and setting up a platform where genetic circuits can be rewired or modulate to increase the directional carbon flux for the synthesis of targeted compound or metabolite. This research will help to unravel the control mechanisms evolved naturally for the synthesis of specialized metabolites and provide an opportunity to modulate their biosynthesis for our own interests that may find use in future breeding purposes.

Seed Biotech Lab. has been working on genetic improvement of sugarcane varieties for several years. Tissue culture protocols have been optimized and published in peer review articles. We have developed insect, herbicide tolerant with enhanced sugar recovery sugarcane lines in collaboration with SRI, AARI Faisalabad. It is pertinent to mention here that insect and virus resistant sugarcane varieties developed at CEMB have recently got permission for the field trials from National Biosafety Committee, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan.

Seed Biotech Lab is one of the designated laboratories by regulatory authorities (Pakistan Environment Agency, Ministry of Climate Change, FSC&RD and PSC). Therefore, Lab. Is also rendering commercial services for DNA, RNA and proteins-based GMOs detection and DNA fingerprinting of crop varieties.

In addition to it,

  • We have developed Fusarium resistance in the highly susceptible Gladiolus cultivars.
  • Developed virus resistant potato and sugarcane using siRNA gene silencing technique.
  • Established protocols for the mass production of pre-basic virus free seed potato. Our virus free Potato seed has been marketed by a private seed company, M/s AGB Seeds Pvt Limited for the last 10 years.
  • Developed synthetic seed production protocol of carrot, cucumber and potato.
  • Insect pest bioassays and field evaluation of our own formulated Bt and Mycorhiza based Biopesticides of Cotton, Tomato, Cauliflower, Okra, Rice etc.
Fig: Different steps of genetic transformation of potato cultivar


Group Composition

Prof Dr Abdul Qayyum
Dr Allah Bakhsh    
Dr Munim Farooq  
Dr Usman Arif       
Ms Farah Naz       

PhD Students

Rabiah Ashraf   
Atif Shehzad     
Farah Naz         
Muhammad Tariq
Ejaz Ali              
Noman Nazik    
Misbah Saleem 
Amina Amin Ch.

M.Phil Students

Sehar Zulfiqar  
Abdul Hameed 
Sidra Abid        
Meisha Imam   
Muniba Shahid 
Saqib Ali           
Waqas Afzal      
Maria Ashraf