David Zaitlin

David Zaitlin

David Zaitlin

David Zaitlin

Associate Director, Principal Investigator, Scientist III

University of Kentucky 1401 University Drive Lexington, KY 40546-0236

Last Revised: Feb 12th, 2024

Professional Biography

Professional Profile

I have been a Scientist and Principal Investigator at KTRDC since October 2001.  My professional training is in plant and bacterial molecular biology and genetics. I am presently in phased retirement (50% time) and will fully retire by September 30, 2024.

Research Interests

  • Molecular genetics of disease resistance in Nicotiana
  • Plant pathogenic oomycetes, especially blue mold disease of tobacco (Peronospora tabacina)
  • Isolation and characterization of plant R genes
  • Systematics and population genetics of Nicotiana obtusifoliaN. benthamiana and N. langsdorffii
  • Genetics, genomics, phylogenetics, evolution, domestication, and biodiversity in the ornamental plant Sinningia speciosa (Gesneriaceae)

Additional Information

Selected Recent Publications

Zaitlin, D., O.D. Chambers, B. Li, R.E. Mundell and H.M. Davies (2004) Drugs in crops (Correspondence).  Nature Biotechnology 22: 507.

Heist, E.P., D. Zaitlin, D.L. Funnel, W.C. Nesmith and C.L. Schardl (2004) Necrotic-lesion resistance induced by Peronospora tabacina on leaves of Nicotiana obtusifolia.  Phytopathology 94: 1178-1188.

Zhang, S. and D. Zaitlin (2008) Genetic Resistance to Peronospora tabacina in Nicotiana langsdorffii, a South American wild tobacco.  Phytopathology 98: 519-528.

Goodin, M.M., D. Zaitlin, N.A. Rayapati and S.A. Lommel (2008) Nicotiana benthamiana: its history and future as a model for plant-pathogen interactions.  Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 21: 1015-1026.

Kurepa, J., S. Wang, Y. Li, D. Zaitlin, A.J. Pierce and J.A. Smalle (2009) Loss of 26S proteasome function leads to increased cell size and decreased cell number in Arabidopsis shoot organs.  Plant Physiology 150: 178-89.

Chen, C., J. Zou, S. Zhang, D. Zaitlin, and L. Zhu (2009) Strigolactones are a newly-defined class of plant hormones which inhibit shoot branching and mediate the interaction of plant-AM fungi and plant-parasitic weeds.  Science in China Series C - Life Sciences 52(8): 693-700.

Pattanaik, S., Q. Kong, D. Zaitlin, J.R. Werkman, B. Patra, C.H. Xie, and L. Yuan (2010) Isolation and functional characterization of a floral tissue-specific R2R3 MYB regulator from tobacco. Planta 231: 1061-1076.

Chatterjee, A., N.C. Das, S. Raha, R. Babbitt, Q. Huang, D. Zaitlin, and I.B. Maiti (2010).  Production of xylanase in transgenic tobacco for industrial use in bioenergy and biofuel applications.  In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. – Plant 46: 198-209.

 Zaitlin, D. and A.J. Pierce. (2010) Nuclear DNA Content in Sinningia (Gesneriaceae); intraspecific genome size variation in S. speciosa.  Genome 53 (12): 1066-1082. 

Zhang, S., Gao, M. and D. Zaitlin. (2012) Molecular linkage mapping and marker-trait associations with NlRPT, a downy mildew resistance gene in Nicotiana langsdorffii. Frontiers in Plant Science 3: 185. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00185.

Zaitlin, D. (2012) Intraspecific diversity in Sinningia speciosa (Gesneriaceae: Sinningieae), and possible origins of the cultivated florist’s gloxinia. AoB Plants pls039; doi: 10.1093/aobpla/pls039.

Zaitlin, D. and A. Bombarely (2014) Population genetics and conservation in Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern Gesneriaceae). In: dos Santos Silva, T.R., et al., organizers, Botânica Na América Latina: Conhecimento, Interação E Difusão, XI Congreso Latinoamericano de Botânica, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. October 19-24, 2014. pp. 491-503.

Kroumova, A.B.M., Zaitlin, D. and G.J. Wagner (2016) Natural variability in acyl moieties of sugar esters produced by certain tobacco and other Solanaceae species. Phytochemistry 130: 218-227. DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2016.05.008

Soorni, A., Haak, D., Zaitlin, D. and A. Bombarely. (2017) Organelle_PBA, a pipeline for assembling chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes from PacBio DNA sequencing data. BMC Genomics 18: 49. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-3412-9

Qin, Q., Li, Y., Ding, N., Li, D., Martinez, N., Miller, R., Zaitlin, D., and S. Yang (2018) Development of user-friently markers for disease resistance to black root rot of tobacco through genotyping by sequencing. Molecular Breeding 38: 76.

Bao, Y., Ding, N., Qin, Q., Wu, X., Martinez, N., Miller, R., Zaitlin, D., Li, D. and S. Yang (2019) Genetic mapping of the Ph gene conferring disease resistance to black shank in tobacco. Molecular Breeding 39: 122.

Hasing, T., Rinaldi, E., Manrique, S., Columbo, L., Haak, D.C., Zaitlin, D. and A. Bombarely (2019) Extensive phenotypic diversity in the cultivated Florist's Gloxinia, Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern, is derived from the domestication of a single founder population. Plants People Planet 1: 363-374.

Ding, N., Qin, Q., Wu, X., Miller, R., Zaitlin, D., Li, D. and S. Yang (2020) Antagonistic regulation of axillary bud outgrowth by the BRANCHED genes in tobacco. Plant Molecular Biology 103: 185-196.

Zaitlin, D. (2020) Technical Report: Literature Review on the Use of Biotechnology and Omics. CORESTA Tobacco Biotechnology and Omics Task Force. https://www.coresta.org/sites/default/files/technical_documents/main/TBO-151-1-CTR_Biotech-and-Omics-Lit-Review_Dec2020.pdf

Zaitlin, D. (2020) Technical Report: Genome Editing and Plant Breeding. CORESTA Tobacco Biotechnology and Omics Task Force. https://www.coresta.org/sites/default/files/technical_documents/main/TBO-151-2-CTR_Genome-Editing-and-Plant-Breeding_Dec2020.pdf

Johnson, E.T., Lyon, R., Zaitlin, D., Kahn, A.B. and M.A. Jairapuri (2023) A comparison of transporter gene expression in three species of Peronospora pathogens during host infection. PLoS ONE 18(6): e0285685.


B.S., Biology with distinction, University of Arizona
PhD., Biochemistry, University of California
Comments: Dissertation title: “Genetic Characterization of Agrobacterium tumefaciens virulence suppression encoded on the IncW R-Plasmid pSa.”
Post-doctoral research, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (Cornell University)
Comments: 1984-85
Post-doctoral research with Professor Lawrence Bogorad, Harvard University
Comments: 1985-88

Contact Information

1401 University Drive Lexington, KY 40546