Università degli Studi di Perugia

Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences Italy

Responsible: Prof. Emidio Albertini – Italy


The group of Prof. Emidio Albertini is in the Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Perugia, which is one of the leading centres in Italy for turf grass genetics, modification of plant reproduction systems, especially apomixis, molecular markers and plant methylation analysis. The group of Prof. Albertini has isolated candidate genes for apomixis in Poa pratensis (Albertini et al., 2004; 2005). Prof. Albertini’s group has also a long experience in studying the changes in DNA methylation in plant species under environmental stresses. Recently his group is investigating DNA methylation changes in genotypes with contrasting modes of reproduction.
The technological infrastructure is up to date, with a 16 capillary DNA sequencer, real-time PCR Thermal cyclers. The labs are well equipped and there are greenhouses as well as innovative growth chambers to grow plants under controlled conditions all year round.

Polo d’Innovazione Genomica, Genetica e Biologia

Responsible: Greta Immobile Molaro – Italy

POLOGGB is a non-profit public private organization founded at the end of 2010 that brings together innovative start-ups, SMEs and research organizations in medical diagnostics, chemical-pharmaceutical and agro-food sectors to stimulate innovation, encourage intensive interactions, shared common infrastructure, expertise and technologies in order to develop innovative products and services through scientific and technological knowledge in genomics, genetics, bioinformatics and biology area.
Polo GGB represents a national and international center of excellence providing operational capacity for innovation and a platform for technical cooperation and networking for projects involving genetics, genomics, biology, microbiology, human diagnostics, agro-food and environment.

French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, France

Epigenetic Regulation and Seed Development Group

Responsible: Olivier Leblanc – France

The «Epigenetic Regulations and Seed Development» group belongs to the Joint Research Unit DIADE (Plant DIversity, Adaptation and DEvelopment) under the tutorship of the University of Montpellier and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD). Its main interest focusses on the establishment, and the functional roles, of chromatin states during plant sexual reproduction and apomixis, an asexual path leading to maternal embryos within seeds. Using genetic approaches combined with (epi)genomics and state-of-the-art microscopy in two biological models, Arabidopsis thaliana and maize, we aim at understanding :

how chromatin states are specified in maize germ cells ?

what is the dynamics of chromatin marks during plant reproduction ?

to which extent epigenetic mechanisms are involved in dosage effects in maize ?

Team members : Daphné Autran (scientist, IRD), Daniel Grimanelli (scientist,IRD), Olivier Leblanc (director, IRD), Caroline Michaud (technician, IRD), Benjamin Selles (Post Doc, IRD), Pauline Jullien (Post Doc, IRD), Mathieu Ingouff (University of Montpellier)

Università degli studi di Milano

Department of Biosciences and Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Responsible: Lucia Colombo – Italy

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas

Centro de Recursos Naturales drenovables de la Zona Semiarida and Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Rosario – Argentina

Responsible: Silvina Pessino & Viviana Echenique

The CENTER FOR RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE SEMI-ARID AREA (CERZOS after its abbreviation in Spanish) was created in 1980 by initiative of the Agronomy Department of the UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DEL SUR. Through time CERZOS progressively incorporated graduate students, that later became grant holders, teachers, researchers, professionals and technicians who received an integral training in different areas of agro-biology. Today, CERZOS continues to promote creative research of excellent level for the generation of fundamental, technological and biotechnological knowledge.
The geographical region where CERZOS is located – the southwestern area of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina- has a semiarid climate, and a very important sea front, particularly in the Bahia Blanca estuary. Its main economical activities include the petrochemical industry, agricultural and cattle-raising production, agricultural industry and the Small and Medium Enterprises. The latter are diversified in the production of food, metal-mechanics, services and logistics, as well as commerce. Taking into consideration the characteristics of the region where it stands, CERZOS has developed into a research and-at the same time- educational institution; generating, promoting and applying scientific and technological knowledge to the sustainable management of the ecological systems of natural resources within the cultivable and non cultivable semi-arid region in Argentina, and for the production of agricultural food.
At the same time, since 1990 CERZOS has promoted and successfully consolidated its biotechnology research area.
CERZOS is one of the 11 scientific and technological research Units from the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL CENTER CONICET in Bahía Blanca. It composes, together with the Universidad Nacional del Sur, a very important educational and scientific community with ample influence in local, regional and national spheres.
CERZOS also holds a close relationship with both the Agriculture and the Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy departments of the Universidad Nacional del Sur.
Various lines of research were developed through time creating a multiplying effect, allowing the constitution of an Institution that today has more than 100 people, with over 30 researchers and more than 20 Research Assistants. In this context, 10 lines of research are being developed.
As well as the research activities, and the usual transference activities such as training courses for farmers, Workshops, Seminars and Conferences, CERZOS provides specialized analytic services, through two of its laboratories, responding to the needs of both the public and private sectors.
CERZOS also has an agricultural-meteorological net composed of nine automatic stations and three limnigraphs placed in the Sauce Grande River basin. These are used by our weatherman to provide useful information for Research Projects and to forecast weather as a service for producers and for the community through local and regional media as well as through the Internet.
These transference activities have been very successful experiences that constitute an important Institutional precedent in the generation of services.
Because of all this CERZOS has become a vigorous and dynamic Institution at the service of Argentina´s growth and development.

Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Agrarias de Rosario (IICAR), CONICET-UNR

Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario – Argentina

Silvina Pessino (Principal Investigator CONICET)
Juan Pablo A. Ortiz (Principal Investigator CONICET)

Our primary research focus is the molecular basis of the switch between sexual and asexual (apomictic) reproduction in the Gramineae, with special emphasis on species of the genus Paspalum. Apomixis is defined as asexual (clonal) reproduction through seeds. Paspalum became a valuable model for the study of this trait because it concurrently represents a system for mining candidate genes and a source of important forage crops. We are interested in elucidating the molecular pathways involved in sexual/asexual development, and in developing tools to harness apomixis for the benefit of agriculture. As this trait is frequently associated with polyploidy, we are also interested in analyzing the genome response to a rise of the ploidy level. We also carry out projects related with the development of molecular tools for breeding assistance in locally important crops. For example, we are producing clonal seeds from an apomictic Paspalum notatum hybrid cultivar (cv Boyero-FCA-UNNE), developing genetic databases for the argentine soybean germplasm and mapping the genome of Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) in order to find molecular markers linked to traits of agronomic interest (i.e. sex determination and water stress tolerance).

Apomixis fundamental research lines:
Analysis of the molecular basis of apomixis in Paspalum
Analysis of the genomic short-term response to polyploidization in the gramineae

Plant breeding research lines:
Apomictic hybrid seed production assays
Development of a genetic database for the argentine soybean germplasm
Genomic characterization of Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate)


Group leaders:
Silvina Pessino (Principal Investigator CONICET)
Juan Pablo A. Ortiz (Principal Investigator CONICET)

Lorena Siena (Assistant Investigator CONICET)
Luciana Delgado (Assistant Investigator CONICET)
Maricel Podio (Assistant Investigator CONICET, temporarily doing a post-doc at University of Tifton)
Juliana Stein (Full-time Tutor, Natinal University of Rosario)

PhD students
Carolina Colono
Celeste Azzaro
Mariano Soliman
Nicolás Spoto
Verónica Anibalini

Pre-grad students
Lucas Demarchi
Agustina Sambrailo

Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional

Laboratorio Nacional de Genomica para la Biodiversidad

Responsible: Arnaud Rocheret & Jean- Philippe Vielle Calzada – Mexico
Back to top