National Research Council of Italy

Institute of Biosciences and BioResources

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IBBR - UOS Portici

The IBBR/UOS Portici building

The IBBR/UOS Portici building

The present Research Division of IBBR at Portici is the former Research Center for Vegetable Breeding (MiGOr), started in 1982 and located at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Napoli "Federico II". In 1997 the Center was converted into the Research Institute of Ornamental and Plant Breeding (IMOF). Since the beginning, the research activities of IMOF have been aimed at the genetic improvement of several vegetable crops by conventional and biotechnological approaches. Most of the research projects are focused on ornamental and vegetable crops of economic interest for Southern Italian agricultural areas, such as tomato, potato, artichoke, tobacco.

The main research objectives are designed at the developing and maintaining the genetic variability, speeding up the selection of superior genotypes, understanding the genetic control of reproduction and its association with yield improvement, increasing quality and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, through bio-molecular techniques, chromosomal manipulation and cell and tissue culture. In particular, the current research activities are focused on:

  1. Identification, characterization and genetic transfer of genes involved in the adaptation and tolerance to environmental stress conditions (heat, cold, drought and salt) in potato and tomato and the model species Arabidopsis;
  2. Development and use of molecular markers for varietal identification and assisted selection;
  3. Genetic control and manipulation of sexual reproduction, by studying mutants and identifying key genes;
  4. Innovative genetic-molecular approaches to improve and exploit local tomato varieties;
  5. Introgression of useful genes (genes for biotic and abiotic constraints, genes for quality) from wild potato species into potato, rose, tomato, by somatic hybridization and interspecific crossing schemes:
  6. Valorization of genetic resources of vegetable, ornamental and medicinal plants, typical of Southern Italian and Mediterrean areas;
  7. Development of an efficient technology of plastid transformation and expression of useful genes for products destinated to agro- and pharamaceutical industries.

In the last few years, major emphasis has been directed to the development of structural and functional genomic approaches in potato, tomato and arabidopsis for highthroughput identification of network of genes involved in the plant stress response and sexual reproduction, development of QTLs controlling the quality and the nutritional value of tomato fruits. In addition, experimental protocols have been set up to create new crops as biofactories for the production of useful compounds to destinate to the agro- and pharmaceutical industries and new genetic methodologies to generate new transgenic plants wit a reduced environmental impact.

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