A major challenge faced by modern agriculture is abiotic stress caused by unfavourable environmental conditions. Global warming is expected to further intensify these problems, including frequency and severity of drought stress, which seriously affect both crop quality and yield. Therefore, timely action is needed to find solutions to mitigate the consequences of water deprivation. A small number of species called resurrection plants, which can tolerate desiccation of their vegetative organs, are a natural resource that can be tapped to solve this problem. They can withstand transition to air-dried state and completely restore physiological activities upon rehydration. In this project, we will study the genomes of several resurrection species and compare them with the genomes of desiccation-sensitive plants to identify molecular mechanisms that are involved in drought tolerance. In addition to the publicly available data of resurrection plants with already sequenced genomes, we will sequence and analyze two more- Haberlea rhodopensis and Xerophyta humilis. Comparative transcriptomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics of resurrection, model, and crop plants subjected to drought will bring further insights about the nature of drought stress tolerance. The research team involves European specialists in resurrection species, drought signaling, plant systems biology and bioinformatics, a partner from Israel experienced in lipidomics, and the leading African university with expertise in resurrection plants and bioinformatics. Next to that, an industrial partner will ensure that the knowledge gained by studying the resurrection and model species is transferred to crops. Moreover, the company will contribute with novel biostimulant based treatment technologies to mitigate stress and achieve optimal yield and net profit. An extensive mobility program will provide staff exchange to maximize research outputs and increase the human capacity of the partners.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call
Funding SchemeMSCA-RISE - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)