Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Crop Science


Horticulture and Crop Science


Jeffrey C. Wong


The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a common virus, with two billion people infected worldwide. It causes approximately 600,000 deaths each year, despite the availability of an effective vaccine since 1982. Maize as a platform for oral vaccination can supply a heat stable vaccine, which does not require syringes or trained personnel to administer. The Hepatitis B Surface antigen was transformed into maize and this seed was used to evaluate expression levels through the breeding process. The transgene was transferred into two elite maize inbreds by backcrossing. Highest expressing ears were selected each generation until approximately 99% commercial parent was obtained with a single gene coding for the vaccine present. Selected individuals were crossed to create hybrid plants. This work was done to create high expressing high yielding lines that could be used as a plant-based oral vaccine for Hepatitis B.