Brazil stands out as one of the main exporters in the agricultural and cattle raising sector, therefore the increase of its productivity is essential for the development of the country and one of the main strategies to achieve this goal is the improvement of the grasses used as pasture. The most widely used forage species is Urochloa decumbens for its good adaptation to poor soils, resistance to drought and palatable and nutritious production, however it is highly susceptible to different species of grasshoppers, such as Notozulia entreriana Berg. Considering that plant resistance mechanisms are determined by the crosstalk of different gene products related to distinct metabolic pathways, an approach based on co-expression networks, aiming at understanding the processes involved in the plant response, shows promise. In this context, the project aims to investigate the genetic and molecular mechanisms related to leafhopper resistance in U. decumbens using gene co-expression networks. It is expected that network modeling with a large data set will enable the establishment of a systemic view of the factors involved in resistance, as well as directing breeding programs to reduce the productive impact caused by the pest.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: