Activities

Our project is composed by several integrated parts, carried on by highly qualified research units.

Structural genomics. production of a draft genomic sequence and its annotation with the identification of all the protein coding genes and repetitive elements. Overlap between the genomic sequence with the genetic map for the identification of useful genes and markers. .

Functional genomics. gene and protein expression studies on a large number of different genotypes and tissues from different organs where take part important physiological processes vital for the plant and reproductive organs development.

Cultivar selection, breeding and analysis of the genetic resources. the activity aims to the reorganisation, the genetic and phenotypic characterisation and the definition of the health status of the cultivated and natural germoplasm using methods validated at international level. Moreover it aims to the selection of new genotypes through genetic improvement based on assisted breeding with different molecular tools useful for the identification of traits important in the typical cultivar and for the creation of new rootstocks.

Analysis of the reproductive organs and of the fruits. identification and understanding of the biological and physiological processes that control the phase changes, the annual regulation of the flowering, the development of the reproductive organs and of the mechanisms of self-sterility. Moreover it will be analysed the molecular processes of the fruit development and ripening and the metabolism of the primary and secondary compounds that are present in the oil.

Study of the tree structure. identification and understanding of the processes that regulates the plant growth, the interaction among different organs, the vigor and branching of the crown and the regulation of tree growth as a function of plant density and the type of breeding.

Stress resistance. biotic stresses studies will be focused on the identification and characterization of genes involved in the resistance response to the pathogens Verticillium dahliae, Spilocaea oleagina, Pseudomonas savastanoi ) and of the fly (Bactrocera oleae) and on the analysis of the metabolic and protein profiles related to the plant response to these pathogens. Moreover it will be performed studies on the main diseases caused by viruses and on the virus related retrotransposable elements present in the olive genome. Abiotic stresses studies will be focused on the olive adaptive responses to environmental stresses and in particular to hydric, salt and cold stresses. The aim is the understanding of the stress response and vernalization molecular bases. .

Metabolism and physiology. This is considered propedeutic to the other activities and the aim is to study the variability of the fruit metabolism, with a particular attention to the compounds important for human health and to the interaction between the endogenous enzymes and fruit and olive oil phenolic compounds. .

Development of a bioinformatics platform. The bioinformatics platform will be useful to analyze the data obtained from the genomic sequencing to retrieve information about genes and their structural and functional annotation, to manage and integrate data coming from the structural and functional genomic activities with information from genetic resources and breeding. Finally the platform will allow the development and the implementation of an advanced query system of the databases.

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