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Genetic and molecular basis of chlorophyll in seeds: a step forward to improve soybean adaptability to climate change

Grant number: 17/50211-9
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: May 01, 2018 - April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Cooperation agreement: NWO
Principal Investigator:Edvaldo Aparecido Amaral da Silva
Grantee:Edvaldo Aparecido Amaral da Silva
Principal investigator abroad: Henk Wilhelmus Maria Hilhorst
Institution abroad: Wageningen University, Netherlands
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas (FCA). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu, SP, Brazil


Due to global climate change, agricultural areas in the world are increasingly prone to climatic extremes. For most species, extreme temperatures and drought stress affects seed quality. This is particularly problematic in oilseeds, such as soybean and canola, and often results in what is known as the "green seed problem". This is when chlorophyll is retained in ripening seeds, resulting in lower oil and seed quality. Despite its considerable importance for seed quality and food security, the mechanisms underlying chlorophyll degradation in oilseeds are poorly understood, which is a major limiting facto r in research into applied solutions to the green seed problem. Over the past years, our groups have accumulated fundamental and applied knowledge on chlorophyll retention in seeds and a solid and fruitful collaboration between Wageningen University and Research and Brazilian research institutes Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) and Embrapa-Soja, both responsible for the transfer of fundamental knowledge into crops. Now we aim to use this knowledge to identify the main regulators of chlorophyll degradation in seeds, to understand the biological significance of chlorophyll in seeds and identify loci responsible for chlorophyll degradation in soybean seeds. For this, we propose to use a combination of physiological, genetic and molecular approaches using a model plant to shed Iight on the molecular regulatory networks of chlorophyll degradation in seeds, concomitantly with a GBS-GWAS approach that will be used in soybean to allow the association between fundamental and applied research. The identification of genetic and molecular markers will greatly aid plant breeders in selecting varieties with desired oil, protein and seed quality traits, together with a low susceptibility to green seed formation. (AU)