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Integrative analysis to identify novel genes/regions associated with apomixis and evaluation of parthenogenetic potential of ASGR-BABY BOOML gene in transgenic rice

Grant number: 21/12838-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal Investigator:Anete Pereira de Souza
Grantee:Fernanda Ancelmo de Oliveira
Supervisor: Peggy Ozias-Akins
Host Institution: Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia Genética (CBMEG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Georgia, Tifton (UGA), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:18/18527-9 - Phylogenetic relationships and identification of markers for apomixis and species-specific Plicatula group in polyploid genomes of Paspalum, BP.PD


Apomixis is a highly desirable trait in modern agriculture since it enables the clonal propagation of maternal genotypes through seed, capturing heterosis and gene combinations of elite phenotypes. Apomixis is hailed as the "holy grail" of plant breeding, because if it could be harnessed via genetic engineering or introgression, would be a major economic impact for agricultural crops in the current plant breeding paradigm by reducing the time and cost required to create high-yield cultivars. Functional apomixis needs the coordinated concurrence of three components, such as apomeiosis, parthenogenesis and endosperm development. Genetic factors linked to apomixis components have been localized into large chromosomal regions (ASGR- Apospory-Specific Genomic Region) showing suppression of recombination. The central problem behind current constraints to apomixis breeding is an understanding the genetic and molecular basis of its components. In this context, we propose to investigate the ASGR locus by comparative mapping in Cenchrus ciliaris genotypes, to help to reduce its complexity. We also intend to assess the expression of PsASGR-BBML transgene constructs in rice lines in order to verify the penetrance of parthenogenesis. The ASGR-BBML gene was previously identified by Peggy Ozias-Akins's group, as having a potential role in the key steps of parthenogenesis in apomictic reproduction. Understanding of the relationship between the ASGR genetic composition and expression profile of PsASGR-BBML gene would not only bring substantial contributions to scientific knowledge, but also bears the potential to assist breeding programs and strategies toward synthetic apomixis in sexual crops plants. (AU)

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