Research
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In recent years our group has expanded its interest also to other crops with particular attention on grapevine. This part of our research is generally done with other partners, either private or institutional.

In grapevine (Vitis vinifera) our research focus spans different scientific areas flowing from cultivar genotyping to fungal disease investigations to Next Generation Sequencing applications. In particular, we aim the valorisation and protection of Italian grape varieties and autochthonous clones using various types of molecular markers, and the application of the abovementioned markers for wine traceability, especially on DOCG wines. Among the Campania region varieties, Aglianico and Falanghina have been considered for resequencing of the whole genome and the identification of the gene expression regulation occurring during berry development in order to characterize the molecular network able to distinguish uniquely those varieties. Another crucial project on grapevine on which we are focussing in, is the identification of grapevine candidate genes involved in the basal immunity triggered by chitin in the epidermal cells of infected varieties. The ongoing activities involve the screening of the susceptibility molecular mechanisms of Italian grapevines for the selection of candidate genes useful in knock-out functional studies. 

As for onion (Allium spp.), our efforts are focusing on exploring the genetic variation of more than 60 onion accessions (including wild, commercial and local varieties) distributed in different areas worldwide through SNPs haplotyping. Notably, 74 loci were associated with a phenotypic trait and 3 of them were identified as putative targets of selection associated with onion improvement. Indeed, our marker set has proven to be successful, revealing population private alleles and potential candidates for future breeding programs

In Petunia, we draw up an agreement with the plant breeding and seed company “Farao” for the analysis and in vitropropagation of top genotypes.

 

In tomato, we are collaborating with other groups in studying traits related to fruit quality and resistances. Our efforts are also directed towards comparative structural genomics studies and gene functional analysis. 

 

As for corn, we are collaborating with University of Ciego de Avila (Cuba) to verify whether genetic stability of cryopreserved material is affected before routinely using this technique for long-term conservation of plant genetic resources. Similar analyses are being carried out also in other crops.