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Menu Institutions

SPS - Saclay Plant Sciences

Portrait

3 questions to Maria-Victoria Gomez Roldan
MVGomez

Maria-Victoria Gomez Roldan is a researcher at the Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2). Her PhD, obtained in 2008 at the University of Toulouse III, allows her to get involved in a project of several years in Wageningen. In 2012, she is recruited as a post-doc for a project selected through the SPS Research Open call and dealing with the gene regulatory network in reproductive organs during sex determination. During this post-doc, she obtains an Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development (IEF - Marie Curie Action). She is recruited in 2015 as a CNRS CR2 in the team "Flower and Carpel Development".

 

1) What are your current research themes?

Currently, I am interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling the development of inflorescences in tomatoes. Some varieties of tomatoes produce 4 or 5 fruits per inflorescence while others, like cherry tomatoes, can produce more than 50. The goal of my project is to identify the main genes that influence this character and to understand how they interact with each other at the genetic and molecular level. For this, we have an approach based on the high-throughput sequencing (NGS) of the transcriptome or RNA-seq, on the floral meristems (the floral meristem, FM and the inflorescence meristem, IM) to identify the differentially expressed genes. We also use site-directed mutagenesis (with the CRISPR-Cas9 system) or TILLING to generate or isolate mutants on candidate genes, which will allow us to validate our hypotheses.

2) What might be the potential impact of your research on tomorrow's agriculture?

The tomato is part of a family of agronomical important crops, the Solanaceae. Our knowledge on the genes involved in the development of inflorescence in tomato can then be transferred to other closely related species such as pepper or eggplant. Our institute, IPS2, has a Translational Research platform and TILLING collections on these three species. This will allow us to understand the function of selected genes by the observation of the phenotype in the mutant lines. This reverse genetics approach using TILLING mutants is an alternative for genetic improvement of cultivated species without the use of transgenic methods (GMOs). In the future we will be able to offer prototypes of plants with higher yield and high quality.

3) You arrived a few years ago on the Paris-Saclay campus, what can you say about it?

Our laboratory (URGV in Evry) has merged with others in January 2015 and joined the new Institute of Plant Sciences Paris-Saclay (IPS2). This project, strongly supported by the SPS LabEx, aimed to bring together most of the research groups working in the field of plants at Saclay in order to share our skills, equipment and networking. This initiative also intended to promote exchanges between researchers, teachers and students and increase our international visibility. The construction of the Université Paris-Saclay will take time, but I am optimistic about the incredible opportunities that will bring us this location and the future of plant science research at the Paris-Saclay campus.