Welcome to the Potato Breeding & Genomics Lab

Our lab is part of a larger group whose home is "Il Castello", located in the Royal Palace of the Department of Agriculture - University of Naples Federico II. "Il Castello" has several research units covering various aspects of plant genetics, breeding, genomics and transcriptomics.

Our research unit mainly works on potato (Solanum tuberosum) for 1) the identification and deployment of under-utilized sources of resistance and quality traits for breeding, and 2) understanding the genetic and molecular basis of autopolyploidization. These objectives are pursued through the exploitation and development of appropriate and advanced genomic tools. 

As known, plant breeding is based upon the production of genetic variability. Here breeders may find genotypes of interest for variety development. In tetraploid cultivated potato, the production of genetic variability is favoured by the presence of several wild species (about 200) that carry noteworthy genes for resistance, quality and agronomic traits and allelic diversity to exploit heterosis. Our favourite primitive potatoes are those of series Stellata (e.g. diploid Solanum commersonii and S. bulbocastanum).  Due to incompatibility barriers, gene flow from these species to the cultivated potato is hampered. Therefore, their successful exploitation requires well-designed breeding strategies. In recent years we have expanded our programs to other crops such as grape, tomato and Brassicaceae.

The research carried out allowed us to develop a large amount of genetic materials and genomic tools useful not only for breeding but also for basic research. The panorama of our activities can be summarized as follows:

1. Polyploidy and genome manipulation in potato
2. Resistance and quality traits in potato
3. Genetics and genomics in other crops

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