Department of plant breeding
Biotecnología vegetal
Research line

The research line is focused in the breeding of crops, mainly cereals, but also brassicas, legumes, and olive tree, for the development of new germplasm, better adapted, with higher added value, and/or new uses for traditional crops. The group uses classical breeding techniques and the state-of-the-art technologies: cytogenetics, molecular markers and mapping, transcriptomic, genetic transformation, and RNAi.

Novel studies focus on cereal chromosomal manipulation and on the use of biotechnological tools to facilitate the introgression into crops (mainly wheat) of genes of agronomic interest and to promote interspecific recombination in cereals.

Among the characters under study include the genetic control of carotenoids content in wheat and tritordeum grain; agronomic traits in olive, including oil content and yield components; disease resistance in legumes; bioethanol production from lignocellulosic material; bread-baking quality and nutritional properties of wheat and tritordeum; the development of new varieties of cereals suitable for coeliacs.

Research line

Legumes, in general, have not benefited from heterosis. In most legumes, the absence of enough natural cross-fertilization is a major bottleneck. If insect-aided outcrossing is understood better, legumes would be major beneficiaries. Our aim is to develop specific breeding approaches integrated with bee-pollinator management to 1) obtain cultivars characterized by heterosis-mediated high productivity, resilience and pollinator-friendliness; and 2) to progress in application-oriented basic questions for a better exploitation of heterosis in legumes. To achieve this, our work design and develop hybrid technology based on the understanding of the plant-pollinator inter-play for the management of bee pollen vectors for insect-aided cross-pollination using tools from pollination ecology, plant breeding and bioinformatics. It is focused on Vicia faba as a model plant because it is a partially allogamous species pollinated by managed and solitary bees and showing significant heterosis in yield stability and resilience.

Mejora genética de cultivos oleaginosos anuales
Mejora por Resistencia a estreses bióticos y abióticos
Línea de investigación

The main aim of plant breeding is to ensure quantity/quality of crops to respond to the continuous increase of world population. However the genetic potential of crop production are constantly threatened by environmental stresses, including biotic and abiotic factors that reduce crop yield and quality.

Our research group at Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS-CSIC) is focused on the resistance responses of crops, mainly legumes and cereals, to their main environmental constraints to ultimately improve yield performance. These studies are carried out at different levels: 1) molecular including gene, protein, metabolites and signalization pathway studies, 2) cellular, through the microscopic characterization of the resistance mechanisms, 3) plant through physiological studies and 4) crop scale by mean of field assays.
The final aim is the breeding of crops for a more durable resistance against pathogens and tolerance against abiotic stresses, in particular those affecting the Mediterranean area.

Research line

Legumes, in general, have not benefited from heterosis. In most legumes, the absence of enough natural cross-fertilization is a major bottleneck. If insect-aided outcrossing is understood better, legumes would be major beneficiaries. Our aim is to develop specific breeding approaches integrated with bee-pollinator management to 1) obtain cultivars characterized by heterosis-mediated high productivity, resilience and pollinator-friendliness; and 2) to progress in application-oriented basic questions for a better exploitation of heterosis in legumes. To achieve this, our work design and develop hybrid technology based on the understanding of the plant-pollinator inter-play for the management of bee pollen vectors for insect-aided cross-pollination using tools from pollination ecology, plant breeding and bioinformatics. It is focused on Vicia faba as a model plant because it is a partially allogamous species pollinated by managed and solitary bees and showing significant heterosis in yield stability and resilience.

Mejora genética de poblaciones para una agricultura de bajos‐insumos