Day 1 :
Cornell University, USA
Keynote: The tomato expression atlas: a new platform and database for interrogating fruit crop gene expression and co-expression with cell-type resolution
Time : 09:35-10:05
Dr. Rose earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Manchester, UK, and then worked for a biotechnology company, before relocating to the USA. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of California Davis, and received his postdoctoral training at the University of Georgia. He accepted a faculty position in the Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University. Dr. Rose is also the Director of Cornell’s Institute of Biotechnology and Director of the New York State Center for Life Sciences Enterprise. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Most biochemical and molecular studies involving the extraction of transcripts or proteins from plant organs use a homogenized amalgam of tissues and cell types. This approach limits insights into cell specialization, and lower abundance molecules that are present only in certain cell types are often diluted below the level of detection. There is therefore a critical ‘information void’ when it comes to annotating and presenting gene expression data. We have been addressing this challenge in the context of understanding the entirety of gene expression during tomato fruit development, by coupling RNA-seq analysis with laser capture microdissection (LCM), which allows the precise isolation of individual fruit cells/tissue types. In addition to resolving gene expression down to the level of cell/ tissue type, this approach has enabled: (i) the identification of previously unannotated genes, demonstrating the value of LCM as a tool for gene discovery; (ii) inferences regarding gene functions, based on the patterns of tissue- or cell type-related expression. We have also been developing computed tomography as a non-invasive imaging tool to create a 3D ‘virtual tomato’, which includes internal structures, to provide digital a scaffold upon which to present transcriptome, or other ‘omics’ data sets as a 4D display. All data will be publicly accessible in a new database, the Tomato Expression Atlas. This database includes a novel user interface with a correlation matrix that reveals patterns of co-expressed genes at an unprecedented level of spatiotemporal resolution, thereby optimizing the identification of functionally related suites of genes.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Keynote: Gall inducers and host plants: Engineers of habitats and the importance of understanding the changes in plant metabolism
Time : 10:05-10:35
André Luis de Alcantara Guimarães has completed his Ph.D. in Botany from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and postdoctoral studies at the Faculty of Pharmacy from UFRJ. He is an associate professor of Faculty of Pharmacy from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He has published papers in reputed journals of Plant Science, especially with galls and their metabolical changes on host plants, and research with medicinal plants
Galls are anomalies in plant development of parasitic origin that affect the cellular differentiation or growth and represent a remarkable plant–parasite interaction. The galls may occur in all organs of the host plant, from roots to fruits. However, the existence of galls in reproductive organs and their effects on host plants are seldom described in the literature. In the past decades, many studies aimed to analyze not only the morphological changes induced by these parasites but also the metabolic changes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved and how these organisms regulate these intricate changes remain unclear. In our research, we present a review of galls in plants of the neotropical region. The affected organs, such as leaves, inflorescences and flower buds show several morphological and anatomical changes. In this review, we discuss the changes in the development of reproductive structures caused by galls and their effects on the reproductive success of the host plants. Additionally, galls may also induce changes in plant metabolism, changing their chemical composition and indirect plant defences. These results, combined with patterns in galls in different neotropical plant species, suggest that gall inducers may alter gene expression, plant hormones and chemical compounds of host plants on their behalf.
Rothamsted Research, UK
Time : 10:50-11:20
Nigel Halford graduated from Liverpool University in 1983, obtained a Masters degree from University College London in 1984 and his PhD from the UK’s Council for National Academic Awards while at Rothamsted in 1989. In 1991 he moved to Long Ashton Research Station near Bristol but returned to Rothamsted as a Research Leader in 2002. His research programme concerns the genetics of metabolic regulation in crops, how plant metabolism is affected by stress and how it can be manipulated for crop improvement and improved food safety. Professor Halford is a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Visiting Professor at Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Special Professor at the University of Nottingham.
Acrylamide is a processing contaminant that forms from free asparagine and reducing sugars during high-temperature cooking and processing. It is a Class 2a carcinogen (probably carcinogenic to humans) and its presence in a range of popular foods is a major problem for the food industry. Cereal and potato products, together with coffee, are the major contributors to dietary acrylamide. We aim to provide the knowledge, tools and resources to reduce the acrylamide-forming potential of wheat, working with colleagues at the John Innes Centre and a consortium of companies and organisations from the wheat supply chain. Free asparagine concentration is the limiting factor for acrylamide formation in wheat products. There are significant differences between varieties with respect to asparagine accumulation in the grain and the genetic control of this trait is being investigated and modelled. Environmental factors (E) also have significant effects, on their own and in combination with varietal differences (G × E), and crop management is also important: Sulphur deficiency, for example, causes a massive accumulation of free asparagine in wheat grain and should be avoided. The study highlights the potential effects of abiotic stress and crop management on cereal grain composition and the implications this has for nutritional and processing quality, and food safety.
Andhra University, India
Time : 11:20-11:50
A J Solomon Raju has expertise in plant reproductive biology and its role in sustaining biodiversity, seed predation, mangrove ecology, biodiesel plants and Cycas ecology. He contributed valuable information on endemic, endangered, threatened, vulnerable and data-defi cient plant species in the Eastern Ghats Forests in India. Further, he has done excellent work on ecological aspects of honey bees, stingless bees, carpenter bees, digger bees, leaf-cutter bees, wasps, fl ies, beetles, butterfl ies, hawk moths and forest birds. Further, he did valuable work on the importance of herbaceous fl ora in eco-restoration, soil fertility, and soil and moist conservation. He has also evaluated the impacts of climate change on C3 and C4 herbaceous plants for their potential to sequester and clean up the atmosphere from high levels of carbon dioxide.
Bees visit fl owers for sustenance. Th ey use pollen as a protein source and nectar as an energy source. Adult females collect
pollen primarily to feed their larvae. Th e pollen, they inevitably lose in going from fl ower to fl ower is important to plants
for pollination. Diff erent bees have diff erent pollinating abilities depending on the fl oral density and characteristics such as
size, shape, colour, scent, and access to fl oral rewards, quality of pollen and nectar, etc. Bees require food throughout the year.
Perennial, annual and ephemeral plants play a vital role in sustaining bees. Th ese plants fl ower at diff erent times and thus
provide food to bees throughout the year. Among diff erent plants, perennials, especially trees are very important to sustain bee
diversity. In return, plants receive the benefi t of pollination, be it self or cross. Diff erent bees occur in our areas. Th ey include
honey bees, stingless bees, digger bees, carpenter bees, leaf-cutting bees and green bees, etc. Each category of bees has a unique
role in the sexual reproduction of plants, in the absence of which there would be no fruit setting. Th erefore, the bee diversity is
directly related to plant diversity and the relationships that exist between bees and plants are mostly mutualistic for the benefi t
of both partners. It is essential to provide nesting, resting, mating habitats and food sources for bees in order to provide