Many species develop in the seed an organ, the aril, which may be important for its commercial interest. In Passiflora, most of the commercially used species, present an aril, which is responsible for the accumulation of substances, with important nutritional quality and consumed fresh or for the production of concentrated juices and syrup fand other food products. Passiflora seeds also present commercial interest. During seed development, the embryo is formed and surrounding the seed a structure develops, which is the aril. Passiflora is the largest genus in Passifloraceae, with more than 500 species, most of them with origin in the neotropical regions, most of them distributed throughout Latin America. Some of these species are important for the production of fresh fruit, concentrated juice, ornamental and medicinal uses. Reproductive developmental studies, including the development of the fruit, are underway, aiming at a better understanding of the genus. The importance of the seeds for the propagation, for taxonomy studies and the presence of the aril, which stimulates the commercial importance of species in this genus, stimulated a comparative study that associates the use of morpho-anatomical and molecular characteristics. The present project aims to comparatively characterize embryo and aril development in fruits of Passiflora edulis and Passiflora alata and to establish a methodology for laser microdissection (LMD) for studies of genes related to the development of the embryo and aril, as well as the induction of somatic embryogenesis, for comparative studies on embryo development. Pollination of flowers will be done manually and samples will be collected every 5 days after pollination , for analysis of embryos and aril in different stages of development. For molecular studies, specific tissues will be captured during the development of the embryo and aril, through laser microdissection. For microdissection only P. edulis samples will be used, since an EST library, PASSIOMA project, which will allow initial studies on genes involved in embryo and aril development. Zygotic embryo samples will be collected at globular and torpedo stages and in two stages of aril development (initial and intermediary). RNA will be extracted from these samples, with the confirmation of its integrity by RT-PCR. The present study aims to contribute for the characterization of embryo and aril development in this genus, which has economic importance in fruit production in Brazil, as well as to establish procedures that can improve the understanding of the molecular basis that control the reproductive development, including the development of the fruit.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: