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The NASA 2019 Group Achievement Award given to Mr. Julio Saez-Vasquez

The NASA 2019 Group Achievement Award given to Mr. Julio Saez-Vasquez
© NASA, ESA, F.J. Médine (CIB-CSIC)
NASA awarded its “NASA 2019 Group Achievements Award (GAA)” to the “Seedling Growth” consortium, which includes the research team led by Dr. J. Sáez-Vásquez of the Plant Genome and Development Laboratory (LGDP) a TULIP unit. This award is given by NASA to teams in recognition of group achievements that fall within the scope of their missions.

In 2010, given their expertise in structural and functional biology of nucleolus in plants (, the research team led by Dr. J. Sáez-Vásquez from the Genome and Plant Development Laboratory had been invited to participate in the Seedling Growth program (SG-2). This program is coordinated by Francisco Javier Medina (CSIC-Spain) and John Z. Kiss (Miami U. USA) and involves the participation of the teams of E. Carnero Diaz (Marie Curie University, Paris) and J. Sáez-Vásquez (UMR 5096 CNRS-UPVD).

The aim of this program is to study the impact of zero gravity and space flight conditions on plant growth and development. This project, supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) agencies, enabled the shipment and handling of plants at the International Space Station (ISS). Culture chambers were specially designed for this purpose and allowed the germination and development of Arabidopsis seedlings in lSS (photo 1A).

Figure TULIP

A) Chambre de culture pour la germination des graines et la croissance des plantes dans l'espace, dans l'expérience «Seedling Growth». Crédit : NASA, Dominic Hart B) Plantules d’Arabidopsis thaliana cultivées dans l'espace, dans différentes conditions: a) avec lumière et gravité (obtenue artificiellement), b) avec lumière et sans gravité et c) avec gravité et lumière rouge (source lumineuse à gauche). Les effets de la lumière et de la gravité sur l'orientation des plantes et la stimulation de la lumière rouge sur la racine sont observés. Crédit: NASA, ESA, F.J. Médine (CIB-CSIC).

The Perpignan team mainly participated in the study of gene expression in mutant plants (for genes involved in the biogenesis of ribosomes) under conditions of 0g (ISS station), 0.018 ± 0.04g (Moon ) and 0.36 ± 0.02g (Mars) and / or white and red light (Photo 3). The first results of this collaborative work were published in 2016 in Journal of Plant Physiology and are the subject of other articles in preparation. A working and coordination meeting of the consortium took place in September 2019 during the 26th ELGRA Symposium in Granada (Spain).