Genetic improvement of oilseed crops

Plant Breeding Department
The main objective of the research group is to develop novel germplasm of oilseed crops with improved agronomic and/or quality traits, as well as the transfer of the novel germplasm to the private sector. Research on quality traits include oil quality (fatty acids tocopherols, phytosterols), meal quality and, for some crops, also vegetative tissues (glucosinolates, minerals, fiber). The group also conducts research on resistance to biotic (mainly sunflower broomrape) and abiotic stresses and crop improvement for biofumigation applications.

The research group also conducts research on the development and practical application of methodologies aimed at facilitating selection, such as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), molecular markers, and genomic approaches.


José María Fernández Martínez

Head of group. Research professor

Antonio De Haro Bailón

Research professor

Leonardo Velasco Varo

Research scientist

Begoña Pérez Vich

Tenured scientist

Cartea, M.E., Velasco, P., Obregón, S., Padilla, G., de Haro, A. 2008. Seasonal variation in glucosinolate content in Brassica oleracea crops grown in northwestern Spain. Phytochemistry 69: 403-410.

Velasco, L., B. Pérez-Vich, B., Yassein, A., Jan, C.C., Fernández-Martínez, J.M. 2011. Inheritance of resistance to sunflower broomrape (Orobanche cumana Wallr.) in an interspecific cross between Helianthus annuus and H. debilis subsp. tardiflorus. Plant Breeding 131: 220-221.

García-Moreno, M.J., Fernández-Martínez, J.M., Velasco, L., Pérez-Vich, B. 2012. Genetic basis of unstable expression of high gamma-tocopherol content in sunflower seeds. BMC Plant Biology 12:71.

Velasco, L., García-Navarro, E., Pérez-Vich, B., Fernández-Martínez, J.M. 2013. Selection for contrasting tocopherol content and profile in Ethiopian mustard. Plant Breeding 132: 694-700.

Fernández-Cuesta, A., Jan C.C., Fernández-Martínez, J.M., Velasco, L. 2014. Variability for seed phytosterols in sunflower germplasm. Crop Science 54: 190-197.

A priority of the research group is to collaborate with the private sector for technology transfer and technology support services in the following areas.

  • Novel traits and associated know-how (genetics, markers) to facilitate their introgression into elite material.
  • New methods and techniques for efficient phenotyping, e.g. seed/oil quality traits and broomrape resistance. Full support for trait introgression.
  • Characterization of seeds and other plant parts for compounds of interest (oil and protein contents, fatty acids, tocopherols, phytosterols, squalene, fiber, minerals, glucosinolates, etc.) and evaluation of their anticarcinogenic properties.

José María Fernández Martínez – Profesor de investigación – Responsable del grupo
 Antonio De Haro Bailón – Profesor de investigación
 Leonardo Velasco Varo – Investigador científico
 Begoña Pérez Vich – Científica titular
Angustias Jiménez Muñoz – Auxiliar de Investigación I+D+I
 José Luis Luque Ojeda – Especialista I+D+I
 Alberto Merino Ortega – Técnico Superior Actividades Técnicas
 Plácida Nieto Moreno – Oficial Actividades Técnicas Contrato
 Sara Obregón Cano – Titulado Superior Actividades Técnicas

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