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Crop breeding

If some techniques have revolutionised agricultural practices, this fact is also true for genetic practices. The development of high throughput screening and bioinformatics lead to identifying the function of each gene. Some genetic targets are able to receive genes with a greater resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses for example. Three crops of agronomic interest are mostly studied and developed in the labex: sunflower, eucalyptus and tomato. The current projects aim to improve plant resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, the use of lignocelllosic biomass and fruit quality, and are based on the exploitation of the knowledge obtained from fundamental research, using model plants.
culture hydroponique

Oil and bio-fuel needs are going to increase in the next few years. Translational projects based on sunflower and eucalyptus have already been initiated. Researchers aim to genetically improve resistance to fungal diseases and tolerance to drought of sunflower. For eucalyptus, their objectives concern the development of second generation biofuel that could be made from low-input non-food plant biomass, by improving improve processes of production from cellulose, the main wood component.

Finally, the societal challenge is not only to provide sufficient food for everyone, but also to guarantee the best nutritional food quality.  This challenge is addressed through the study of the process of tomato fruit set. The tomato contains large quantitites of vitamin C and E, as well as polyphenols, compounds essential to human health. By taking advantage of the completion of the tomato genome sequence, the emergence of fleshy fruit from dry fruit during the evolution of higher plants is also being investigated. Understanding this mechanism will allow researchers to potentially control it in other species with recognized nutritional qualities.