In the present scenario, important crops naturally present low levels of drought tolerance and resistance to insect pests and nematodes. In this context, the complex mechanisms of response associated with environmental stresses (abiotic and biotic), and the small number of characterized and introgressed genes have been reported. Therefore, the search for new genes and molecules involved in tolerance or resistance to insect pests or drought stress is imperative.
Hence, “INCT - Biotechnology applied to plant stresses” proposes the integration of several Brazilian research groups and international partners experts 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. This project includes prospection, isolation, characterization, and functional validation of genes and molecules involved in resistance against pests (Meloidogyne spp., Helicoverpa armigera, and Spodoptera frugiperda) and water deficit tolerance. The generated assets will be applied in the development of biotechnology products, such as bio-insecticides and genetically modified soybean, maize and cotton plants.
Furthermore, INCT research groups will not spare efforts to promote the qualification of students and professionals from different research areas, including biotechnology, genomics, 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 stress and pests’ control 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.