In the present scenario, when important crops naturally present low levels of drought tolerance and of resistance to insect-pests and nematodes, the breakdown of new cultivars’ resistance, and the plant complex mechanisms of response to associated environmental stresses (abiotic and biotic), together with the small number of characterized and introgressed genes have been reported. Therefore, the search for new genes or molecules involved in tolerance or resistance to pests or drought is imperative, as well as their stacking in order to transform cultivars adapted to different weather and soil conditions.
In this context, the “INCT - Biotechnology applied to plant stresses” proposes the integration of several Brazilian research groups and international partners, which are expert in plant physiology, transcriptomics, epigenetics, proteomics, bioinformatics and functional genomics. The integrated research group aims to develop a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional network with national and international excellence to generate biotechnological assets applied to maize, soybean and cotton aiming tolerance to water deficit and pest control (Meloidogyne spp., Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera frugiperda). This project includes prospection, isolation, characterization and functional validation of genes and molecules involved in resistance against pests and water deficit tolerance.
The assets generated will be applied in the development of biotechnology products such bio-insecticides and genetically modified soybean, maize and cotton plants, with multiple tolerance/resistance to the studied stresses (stacking). In addition, the assets generated in this project, the knowledge in molecular and physiological factors related to drought tolerance and interaction with pests and other environmental stresses will contribute to prevent, mitigate and adapt to the impact caused by climate changes.
In parallel to its scientific agenda, the INCT research groups will not spare efforts to promote the qualification of students and professionals in the project related areas, mainly biotechnology, genomic and bioinformatics, either in Brazil or abroad.
In the future, the INCT network can be used not only for the generation of biotechnological assets applied to drought and pests in soybean, cotton and maize but also to other agronomic important traits (seed and fruit quality, nutrition value increase and others) and important crops for the Brazilian agribusiness.