Applications of Plant Molecular Biology.

Topics: Plant traits are coded for by genes, Genetically modified crops in agriculture.


Responses of plants to biotic stress


Methods for Crop Genetic Modification

Application of Model Plants to Crop Biotechnology

Functional Genomics and Plant Transcriptomes




Dr. Maretha O'Kennedy, CSIR Biosciences, explaining "biolistics", a method for plant transformation using particle bombardment



Third year undergraduate class members visiting the laboratories at CSIR Biosciences


Postgraduate (Honours)


An important component of the Honours degree in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in the RESEARCH PROJECT (50 credits out of 160 required). The choice of which Honours course to do is usually based on the courses offered plus choice of supervisor to do the Research Project.

Honours students interested in carrying out their Research Project in the "Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions" group under supervision of Prof. Dave Berger have three options:

Laboratory-based Honours projects:

  • Option 1: Honours (Plant Science, specializing in Plant Physiology and Biotechnology).

    For more information on this Department of Plant Science course and to apply please go to this page

  • Option 2: Honours (Biotechnology, specializing in Plant Biotechnology)

    This is an interdepartmental course (Plant Science, Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Plant Pathology) focused on molecular Biotechnology and includes exposure to issues related to commercialization of biotechnological inventions. For a description of the course please click here.

    To apply please contact Lucille Hermann


Bioinformatics-based Honours projects:

For more information about the Bioinformatics Honours Degree at UP and how to apply please consult the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit webpage Students interested in either of these three options for Honours should contact Prof Berger by email in September of their final Undergraduate year for information on Research Projects in the MPPI lab for their Honours year.



New Publications

Export to RIS
Meyer J, Berger DK, Christensen SA, Murray SL. (2017) RNA-Seq analysis of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins in resistance to grey leaf spot disease, caused by Cercospora zeina. BMC Plant Biology 17:197. 10.1186/s12870-017-1137-9
Amuge T, Berger DK, Katari MS, Myburg AA, Goldman SL, Ferguson ME. (2017) A time series transcriptome analysis of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) varieties challenged with Ugandan cassava brown streak virus. Scientific Reports 7:9747. 10.1038/s41598-017-09617-z
Swart V, Crampton BG, Ridenour JB, Bluhm BH, Olivier NA, Meyer JJM, Berger DK. (2017) Complementation of CTB7 in the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina overcomes the lack of in vitro cercosporin production. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 30(9):710-724. 10.1094/MPMI-03-17-0054-R
Christie N, Myburg AA, Joubert F, Murray SL, Carstens M, Lin Y-C, Meyer J, Crampton BG, Christensen SA, Ntuli JF, Wighard SS, Van de Peer Y, Berger DK. (2017) Systems genetics reveals a transcriptional network associated with susceptibility in the maize-gray leaf spot pathosystem. The Plant Journal 89(4):746-763. 10.1111/tpj.13419
Reitmann A, Berger DK, Van den Berg. (2017) Putative pathogenicity genes of Phytophthora cinnamomi identified via RNA-Seq analysis of pre-infection structures. European Journal of Plant Pathology 147(1):211-228. 10.1007/s10658-016-0993-8