Francisco Barro Losada

Genetic Transformation and Functional Genomics
The research line uses state-of-the-art Plant Breeding technologies, such as genetic transformation and RNA interference (RNAi), in functional genomic studies to develop new varieties with high added value.

Priority objectives are:

  • broaden the genetic base of crops through the identification of characters of great interest for agriculture in wild-relative to crops and their introgression into cultivated species.
  • to progress in the understanding of the molecular basis of the toxicity of gluten proteins of cereals in relation to coeliac disease and other intolerances to gluten.
  • identification of peptide variants with very low toxicity in relation to coeliac disease and its introgression in cultivated species.
  • application of classical breeding and molecular markers to develop cereal varieties suitable for coeliacs and other people suffering gluten intolerances.

Genetic transformation and RNAi has been used to develop varieties of durum and bread wheat with very low content of gliadins, major responsibles of triggering coeliac disease. Breads made using flours from these lines showed technological and organoleptic properties comparable to those of normal wheat. Therefore, they could be used in the elaboration of foods suitable for coeliac customers.

Javier Gil-Humanes, Fernando Pistón, Rossana Altamirano-Fortoul, Ana Real, Isabel Comino, Carolina Sousa, Cristina M. Rosell, Francisco Barro (2014). Reduced-gliadin wheat bread: an alternative to the gluten-free diet for consumers suffering gluten-related pathologies. PLoS One 9(3): e90898. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090898.

Fernando Pistón, Javier Gil-Humanes and Francisco Barro (2013). Integration of promoters, inverted repeat sequences and proteomic data into a model for high silencing efficiency of coeliac disease related gliadins in bread wheat. BMC Plant Biology, 13:136, doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-136

Javier Gil-Humanes, Fernando Pistón, Stig Tollefsen, Ludvig M. Sollid, and Francisco Barro. (2010). Effective shut down in the expression of celiac disease related wheat gliadin T-cell epitopes by RNA interference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107(39) 17023-17028. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1007773107.

Elena León, Racha Aouni, Fernando Piston, Marta Rodríguez-Quijano, Peter R. Shewry, Antonio Martín and Francisco Barro. (2010). Stacking HMW-GS transgenes in bread wheat: combining subunit 1Dy10 gives improved mixing properties and dough functionality. Journal of cereal Science 51: 13–20. doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2009.09.001.

Barro, F., Rooke, L., Bekes, F., Gras, P., Tatham, A.S., Fido, R., Lazzeri P.A. Shewry, P.R., and Barcelo, P. (1997). Transformation of wheat with HMW glutenin subunit genes results in improved functional properties. Nature Biotechnology 15:1295-1299.

  • Genetic transformation of cereals. We offer the production of transgenic plants of wheat. Genetic trasnformation system is mainly biobalistic but also Agrobacterium mediated transformation is offered.
  • Production of haploid plans by microspore in vitro culture.
  • Email:
  • IAS main building – Office 13 top floor
  • Phone: (+34) 957 49 92 40