New Genomic Techniques (NGTs): the single-cell gene editing

Seminar of the Master of Science in Agrifood Innovation Management
13 May 2024
Start time 
1:45 pm
Room 6014 | Palazzo della Ricerca e della Conoscenza, via Mach 1, San Michele a/A
prof.ssa Stella Grando
Target audience: 
UniTrento students
Umberto Salvagnin, PhD - CIVIT-Consorzio Innovazione Vite

The gene editing technology allows the modification of cellular DNA in crop plants with a high level of precision, creating an alternative route to the classic crossbreeding and to the modern transgene-based approach.
In particular, the use of plant protoplasts (i.e. plant cells in which the cell wall has been removed enzymatically) is characterized by unique opportunities such as the possibility of doing transient and DNA-free  transformations with high efficiency, and the possibility to create non-chimeric plants with desirable genetic modifications in elite genotypes.
However, there are also unique challenges that need to be solved before the use of the single cell becomes widely adopted in plant breeding, especially those linked to the in vitro culture and plant regeneration. 
Moreover, being a very recent biotechnological approach, the legal framework is still evolving (especially in Europe), adding thus a bit of uncertainty to the future of the technique. During the seminar, two case studies will be used to better illustrate the topics discussed.

Umberto Salvagnin got his MSc in Biotechnology at the University of Padova in 2011 and his PhD from the Free University of Bolzano in 2017. He has worked in plant genetic modification, focusing on studies of chemical ecology, functional genomics, and plant secondary metabolism (terpenes). Currently, he is engaged in gene editing research in grapevine to develop disease-resistant varieties.