The main research target is identifying and characterizing genes of interest in forage and feed grain legumes through the use of model species (e.g. Medicago truncatula) and molecular and genetic engineering techniques. Our activities include:

  • identification and characterization of genes implied in secondary metabolite pathways in legumes through M. truncatula mutant collections and forward/reverse genetics approaches
  • analysis of the natural variation of such genes in elite materials of agronomically important legume species by means of SNPs
  • identification of genes involved in heterosis in lucerne and studying their variation in sequence and expression in different sets of free-hybrids
  • establishment of efficient plant regeneration and genetic transformation systems for Medicago spp.
  • identification and molecular characterization of genes involved in plant response to abiotic stresses in Medicago spp.
  • genetic modification of M. truncatula to improve traits of agronomic interest (tolerance to abiotic stresses; seed size; triterpene saponin composition)
  • production of genetically modified M. truncatula plants with low environmental impact using the P-DNA (plant-derived transfer DNA) technology