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CITRUSEQ project: applying biotechnology to citrus.

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Citrus, fruits with plenty of vitamin C, are one of the most popular evergreen trees and widely used around the world. We should hihglight oranges, lemons or grapefruits among others.

Within their composition, we could find such valuable elements such as citric acid, extensively used in cosmetical products, flavonids, anti-cancer qualities, cardiotonic, antithrombotic, etc, as well as pectin (of great importance application in medecine, culinary).

This is why citrus has always been an object of study, selection of new varieties due to their ease of hybridization (e.g. the famous grafts) or research in the reduction, or elemintaion, of the so-called Maditerranian fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), one of the most damaging flies, agricultural and economical causes of these fruit growing.

Nowadays, in XXI century, the study of citrus fruits reach another level using biotehcnology and new alternatives. Thus CITRUSEQ project, carried out by public and private institutions, including the Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research (IVIA) and the National Center of Genomic Analysis (CNAG), include a series of activities in order to obtain and select new varieties of citrus.

This calls for sequencing the genome of species representative (in the Spanish scene) as well as identifying genes of agronomic interest by using a genotyping chip, ie, a DNA chip to help track or read the genetic information of a given sequence in a particular region of the genome. As a result, enhanced features will be available on the growth and development, improved production and improved tolerance to abiotic stress (environmental factors affecting the optimum state of the plants).

Another example of how genomics and biotechnology allow to improve and study among others, as valuable foods such as citrus.

To learn more:

http://www.ivia.es

http://www.cnag.cat

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Autor: ScienceOut

Biotecnóloga y Bioquímica, Coleccionista de sueños, haciendo de la ciencia una filosofía de vida... Biotechnologist and Biochemistry, Collector of dreams, making science a life's philosophy...

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