The group's activity focuses on gametic embryogenesis as tool for the production of doubled haploid plants (DH). DH production is a biotechnological tool that allows the obtention of complete homozygous plants in a single generation. The introduction of DHs in plant breeding programs can accelerate the development of new plant varieties. The group works on protocols optimization for DH production in cereals and vegetables. Collaboration with other research groups and private companies both nationally and internationally allows direct transfer of the technologies implemented in the seed sector. To further optimize the production of DH a better understanding of the processes involved in gametic embryogenesis is needed. The group has incorporated genetic and genomic approach as a strategy to identification of candidate in barley and wheat gametic embryogenesis.
At present there is a worldwide demand for production of new varieties of plants that with increased production, improved quality, increased diseased resistance and greater adaptability to climatic conditions. The speed and efficiency with which varieties are developed have become increasingly important. The technology of DH plants is currently the fastest way to reach the homozygosity, and in combination with techniques such as marker-assisted selection, can address the improvement of complex characters in less time for new varieties reach markets.
A high efficiency of DH plant production is only possible in some species and / or genotypes. The group's main objective is to optimize the production of green DH plants through gametic embryogenesis in cereals and vegetables. In collaboration with other public and private organizations, technological innovations will be directly transferred to the seed sector. The acquisition of new knowledge of the molecular and genetic processes involved in microspore embryogenesis is one of the fundamental objectives of the group.
One of the major factors limiting the production of DH lines is the low number of gametic cells that are able to change their gametophytic pattern of development after induction treatment, towards a sporophytic pattern. Therefore the group works both development of new mechanisms of induction and culture media modification by the incorporation of new compounds that enhance the efficiency of embryogenesis. Another limiting factor is the low percentage of chromosome spontaneous doubling, as induced doubling methods produce high plant mortality rates and a low number of seeds. In order to increase the efficiency of spontaneous and / or induced doubling, the group is assaying different treatments with doubling compounds.
A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the developmental pattern change of an immature gametic cell towards embryogenesis, not only facilitates the optimization of DH production protocols, but it also the generation of basic knowledge in plant developmental biology. Therefore, the group is working on the identification of key molecular mechanisms associated to early stages embryo development.
The group collaborates with national and international public and private organizations that allow a direct transfer of the technologies implemented to the seed sector. Collaboration with government agencies allows us to validate the key molecular mechanisms in embryogenesis in other species.