Coffee is one of the most important agricultural commodities worldwide. It has been target in breeding programs aimed at introducing new characters to obtain hybrids with superior agronomic traits, such as uniform flowering, higher yield, higher grain size, better beverage quality, lower caffeine content and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Being an allotetraploid, Coffea arabica genome is the fusion of its ancestors diploid genomes, Coffea canephora and Coffea eugenioides, which became subgenomes in this specie. Therefore, the transcripts expressed by C. arabica are the combination of homeologous genes of these two subgenomes. The regulation of these genes should modulate the expression in different tissues and biological conditions, which could explain the greater environmental plasticity of C. arabica and others allopolyploids. However, the study of mechanisms that regulate this process is one of the most challenges today. This project consists to identify DNA methylation marks in homeologous genes of C. arabica and your correlation with transcription levels in order to identify possible mechanisms for gene expression regulation. We will evaluate the homeologous gene expression in different tissues (leaves, inflorescences, fruits and roots) and developmental stages, tracing their methylation profiles. We consider this project an important step towards the elucidation of the regulation of homeologous genes in C. arabica, supporting alternative strategies for breeding and guided selection.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: