Vítor Falavigna

Genetic Improvement and Plant Adaptation, Montpellier

Bud Dormancy Control in Apple

Annual meeting: 2018

Fields-Topics: P1 Molecular and Cellular,P2 Tissue and Individual

Type of talk: Fellows Speed Presentation

Bud Dormancy Control in Apple


I started my research life working as a trainee at the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics of Embrapa Uva e Vinho, a federal research institute from Brazil, when I was a bachelor student of Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology. I continue improving my qualifications by obtaining a Master and PhD titles in Cell and Molecular Biology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. My PhD thesis aimed to functionally characterize as well as to analyze the biotechnological potential of dehydrins and galactinol synthases from apple. Nowadays, I am an AgreenSkills+ fellow at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in Montpellier, France, and I work in the genetic and molecular control of apple bud dormancy in the team headed by Dr. Evelyne Costes. All these experiences made me work in different fields and helped the development of a broad knowledge on plant biology, especially the ones involving genetic and molecular assays.


Bud Dormancy Control in Apple

Dormancy is an adaptive mechanism that enables perennial trees to survive unfavorable climatic conditions. Their regulatory mechanisms are highly heritable, suggesting a strong genetic control of the trait. Unlike other temperate fruit crops, dormancy in apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.) is mainly triggered by exposure to low temperatures and not photoperiodic changes. Therefore, the predicted impact of the ongoing climate changes will result in difficulties for apple production. Recently, it has been suggested that genes encoding Dormancy-Associated (DAM) and flowering-time related MADS-box transcription factors regulate dormancy, even though their precise mode of action and integration to the process is still unknown. Moreover, the dormancy process is highly heritable, suggesting a strong genetic control of the trait. The present project aims to characterize apple DAM and flowering-time related MADS-box transcription factors through complementary genetic and molecular approaches. At the genetic level, a target capture sequencing assay is being employed on a French apple core collection in order to identify allelic variations present on genes involved in dormancy and flowering control. The co-expression of several candidate MADS-box genes during different dormancy stages prompted us to investigate the formation of transcriptional complexes between their protein products by the utilization of yeast two-hybrid experiments. Together, these studies contribute to a better characterization of key processes in the molecular control of bud dormancy, as well as to identify possible biotechnological resources for application in breeding programs.

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