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Molecular design of tomato - de novo domestication via genome editing to harness stress tolerance

Grant number: 18/05003-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2019 - December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Pant Physiology
Convênio/Acordo: West Virginia University
Principal Investigator:Lázaro Eustaquio Pereira Peres
Grantee:Lázaro Eustaquio Pereira Peres
Principal researcher abroad: Vagner Augusto Benedito
Institution abroad: West Virginia University (WVU), United States
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Current plant breeding approaches have failed to harness the full potential of tolerance to abiotic stress available in wild crop relative species by genetic introgression to crop varieties. This difficulty is due to the highly complex polygenic traits involved in these stresses. Nevertheless, highly-tolerant crops are urgently needed in the face of scarcity of arable land and fresh water, and the fast-paced growth of the global population. Here, we propose a novel approach to tackle this problem by domesticating de novo the tomato by using its close relative S. cheesmaniae, a hardy species native to the Galapagos Islands and highly adapted to abiotic stresses, especially salinity. We will test a molecular design approach using new genome editing technology (CRISPR-Cas9) as a proof-of-concept that can be extended to other major crops. We will also produce a viable commercial, non-transgenic tomato variety that can be cultivated hydroponically with seawater or in saline fields. This project will also leverage the pursuit of additional funding in the U.S. to further explore biotechnological tools to enhance the physiology and development of the tomato plant with the intent of maximizing yield under diverse abiotic duress. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
THEREZAN, RODRIGO; KORTBEEK, RUY; VENDEMIATTI, ELOISA; LEGARREA, SAIOA; DE ALENCAR, SEVERINO M.; SCHUURINK, ROBERT C.; BLEEKER, PETRA; PERES, LAZARO E. P.. Introgression of the sesquiterpene biosynthesis from Solanum habrochaites to cultivated tomato offers insights into trichome morphology and arthropod resistance. PLANTA, v. 254, n. 1, . (18/05003-1, 16/22323-4)

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