Daniel Voytas
Office Address

1500 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States


Voytas, Ph.D.

McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor; Director, Center for Precision Plant Genomics
Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Precisely editing crop DNA to reshape 21st century agriculture; the Voytas lab is focused on optimizing delivery of nucleases and donor DNA molecules to plant cells to more efficiently achieve targeted genetic alterations.

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Research statement

The ability to precisely alter DNA sequences in living cells makes possible detailed functional analysis of genes and genetic pathways. In plants, targeted genome modification has applications ranging from understanding plant gene function to developing crops with new traits of value. We have enabled efficient methods for targeted modification of plant genomes using sequence-specific nucleases. With zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL effector nucleases (TALENs), and CRISPR/Cas9 reagents, we have achieved targeted gene knockouts, replacements and insertions in a variety of plant species. Current work is focused on optimizing delivery of nucleases and donor DNA molecules to plant cells to more efficiently achieve targeted genetic alterations.

Selected publications

R. A. Nasti, M. H. Zinselmeier, M. Vollbrecht, M. F. Maher, D. F. Voytas, Fast-TrACC: A rapid method for delivering and testing gene editing reagents in somatic plant cells. Frontiers in Genome Editing. 2, 32 (2021).

T. Weiss, C. Wang, X. Kang, H. Zhao, M. Elena Gamo, C. G. Starker, P. A. Crisp, P. Zhou, N. M. Springer, D. F. Voytas, F. Zhang, Optimization of multiplexed CRISPR/Cas9 system for highly efficient genome editing in Setaria viridis. Plant J. 104, 828–838 (2020).

M. F. Maher, R. A. Nasti, M. Vollbrecht, C. G. Starker, M. D. Clark, D. F. Voytas, Plant gene editing through de novo induction of meristems. Nat Biotechnol. 38, 84–89 (2020).

A. Khakhar, C. G. Starker, J. C. Chamness, N. Lee, S. Stokke, C. Wang, R. Swanson, F. Rizvi, T. Imaizumi, D. F. Voytas, Building customizable auto-luminescent luciferase-based reporters in plants. Elife. 9 (2020), doi:10.7554/eLife.52786.

E. E. Ellison, U. Nagalakshmi, M. E. Gamo, P.-J. Huang, S. Dinesh-Kumar, D. F. Voytas, Multiplexed heritable gene editing using RNA viruses and mobile single guide RNAs. Nat Plants. 6, 620–624 (2020).

S. S. Nadakuduti, C. G. Starker, D. K. Ko, T. B. Jayakody, C. R. Buell, D. F. Voytas, D. S. Douches, Evaluation of methods to assess in vivo activity of engineered genome-editing nucleases in protoplasts. Front Plant Sci. 10, 110 (2019).

Y. Mei, B. M. Beernink, E. E. Ellison, E. Konečná, A. K. Neelakandan, D. F. Voytas, S. A. Whitham, Protein expression and gene editing in monocots using foxtail mosaic virus vectors. Plant Direct. 3, e00181 (2019).

A. Zsögön, T. Čermák, E. R. Naves, M. M. Notini, K. H. Edel, S. Weinl, L. Freschi, D. F. Voytas, J. Kudla, L. E. P. Peres, De novo domestication of wild tomato using genome editing. Nat Biotechnol (2018), doi:10.1038/nbt.4272.

Q. Shan, N. J. Baltes, P. Atkins, E. R. Kirkland, Y. Zhang, J. A. Baller, L. G. Lowder, A. A. Malzahn, J. C. 3rd Haugner, B. Seelig, D. F. Voytas, Y. Qi, ZFN, TALEN and CRISPR-Cas9 mediated homology directed gene insertion in Arabidopsis: A disconnect between somatic and germinal cells. J Genet Genomics. 45, 681–684 (2018).

S. Sánchez-León, J. Gil-Humanes, C. V. Ozuna, M. J. Giménez, C. Sousa, D. F. Voytas, F. Barro, Low-gluten, nontransgenic wheat engineered with CRISPR/Cas9. Plant Biotechnol J. 16, 902–910 (2018).

X. Patrinostro, P. Roy, A. Lindsay, C. M. Chamberlain, L. J. Sundby, C. G. Starker, D. F. Voytas, J. M. Ervasti, B. J. Perrin, Essential nucleotide- and protein-dependent functions of Actb/β-actin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 115, 7973–7978 (2018).

S. S. Nadakuduti, C. R. Buell, D. F. Voytas, C. G. Starker, D. S. Douches, Genome editing for crop improvement - applications in clonally propagated polyploids with a focus on potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). Front Plant Sci. 9, 1607 (2018).

A. Macovei, N. R. Sevilla, C. Cantos, G. B. Jonson, I. Slamet-Loedin, T. Čermák, D. F. Voytas, I.-R. Choi, P. Chadha-Mohanty, Novel alleles of rice eIF4G generated by CRISPR/Cas9-targeted mutagenesis confer resistance to Rice tungro spherical virus. Plant Biotechnol J. 16, 1918–1927 (2018).

L. G. Lowder, J. Zhou, Y. Zhang, A. Malzahn, Z. Zhong, T.-F. Hsieh, D. F. Voytas, Y. Zhang, Y. Qi, Robust transcriptional activation in plants using multiplexed CRISPR-Act2.0 and mTALE-Act Systems. Mol Plant. 11, 245–256 (2018).

A. W. Hummel, R. D. Chauhan, T. Cermak, A. M. Mutka, A. Vijayaraghavan, A. Boyher, C. G. Starker, R. Bart, D. F. Voytas, N. J. Taylor, Allele exchange at the EPSPS locus confers glyphosate tolerance in cassava. Plant Biotechnol J. 16, 1275–1282 (2018).

J. He, M. Xu, M. R. Willmann, K. McCormick, T. Hu, L. Yang, C. G. Starker, D. F. Voytas, B. C. Meyers, R. S. Poethig, Threshold-dependent repression of SPL gene expression by miR156/miR157 controls vegetative phase change in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genet. 14, e1007337 (2018).

S. J. Curtin, Y. Xiong, J.-M. Michno, B. W. Campbell, A. O. Stec, T. Čermák, C. Starker, D. F. Voytas, A. L. Eamens, R. M. Stupar, CRISPR/Cas9 and TALENs generate heritable mutations for genes involved in small RNA processing of Glycine max and Medicago truncatula. Plant Biotechnol J. 16, 1125–1137 (2018).

P. Bhowmik, E. Ellison, B

Background information

Center for Precision Plant Genomics

National Academy of Sciences Member (elected 2019)