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Flower development in passionfruit: a transciptomic approach to corona ontogenesis

Grant number: 18/24742-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Carnier Dornelas
Grantee:Mariana Bombardi da Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Brazil is the world´s main passionfruit grower, producing about 1 million tons, in around 50 thousand hectares. The commercial species, named yellow passionfruit (Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa) belongs to the genus Passiflora, which includes about 600 species, most originated in the Neotropics, mainly in South America. Despite its economical importance, there is knowledge gap about the development and the reproductive biology of plants belonging to the genus Passiflora. In this genus, there are examples of plants that display complex floral structures whose origins have not been elucidated yet, such as the corona filaments. The corona has a great influence on the mechanism of pollination and, therefore, on the production of fruits. The literature suggests flower corona filaments are modified stamens, petals or sui generis organs. Our hypothesis is that conserved molecular mechanisms that modulate meristematic activity might play a role on the origin of corona filaments. Using tools appropriate to the study of ontogenesis and development, including optical and electron microscopy tools, associated to transcriptome and gene expression analysis, we aim to unravel the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the identity and the ontogenesis of such elusive organ that represent evolutionary novelties in plants and might impact passionfruit production. (AU)