From plant genomics to plant biotechnology reviews the recent advancements in the post-genomic era, discussing how different varieties respond to abiotic and biotic stresses, understanding the epigenetic control and epigenetic memory (RNAs, DNA methylation, histone modifications and polycomb complexes), the roles of non-coding RNAs, applicative uses of RNA silencing and RNA interference in plant physiology and in experimental transgenics and plants modified to specific aims (biofuels, production of high-value pharmaceutical proteins in plants, abiotic stress resistant wood trees and ornamental plants). In the forthcoming years these advancements will support the production of plant varieties better suited to resist biotic and abiotic stresses, for food and non-food applications.
Key features: discusses a broad range of applications: the examples originate from a variety of sectors (including in field studies, breeding, RNA regulation, pharmaceuticals and biotech) and a variety of scientific areas (such as bioinformatics, -omics sciences, epigenetics, and the agro-industry); provides a unique perspective on work normally performed 'behind closed doors'. As such, it presents an opportunity for those within the field to learn from each other, and for those on the 'outside' to see how different groups have approached key problems.
Dr Palmiro Poltronieri is a researcher at the Agrofood Department of the Italian National Research Council. He is co-founder of Biotecgen SME – a service company involved in European projects (FP VI STREP Novel roles for non-coding RNAs -RIBOREG- and the FP VII ABSTRESS, starting in 2012), developing molecular tools such as Ribochip DNA arrays, and protein chip tools. He is Associate Editor to BMC Research Notes. He holds a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Verona University, 1995, and from 1996 to 1997 was 'Japanese Society for Promotion of Science' post-doctoral fellow at Tsukuba University. Since 1999 as a researcher for the NRC he has been studying plant protease inhibitors, and their applications. Current interest is on the water stress response in roots of tolerant and sensitive chickpea varieties, activating the jasmonic acid synthesis pathway at different timing.
Dr Natalija Burbulis is currently head of the agrobiotechnology laboratory and professor at the Crop Science and Animal Husbandry Department of the Aleksandr Stulginskis University (Lithuania). She holds a PhD in Agricultural science obtained from the Lithuanian University of Agriculture, and for 10 years performed research in plant biotechnology, physiology and biochemistry. Current studies are in vitro selection of oilseed crops (rapeseed and linseed) – genotypes with important agronomic traits, including disease resistance, cold tolerance and oil quality improvements.
Professor Corrado Fogher, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Genetics and Responsible for the transgenic plants sector of the Observatory on Transgenic Organisms in Agriculture at the Faculty of Agricultural Science of the Catholic University, Piacenza, Italy. He was NATO Fellow (1982-83) at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, Researcher (1984-85) at the Department of Cellular Physiology and Molecular Genetics of the Pasteur Institute, Paris, and Visiting scientist (summer of 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995) at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. He is the author or co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed papers. He is the Research Director of three SMEs, Plantechno, Incura and SunChem.