Institute of plant genetics (IBBR)



The IBBR headquarter is located in Bari and has expertises in the field of agro-biology and agriculture. Specific areas deal with:
Genetic resources management including exploration, retrieval, storage, rejuvenation, characterization, documentation and exploitation of resources found in agricultural areas, natural forests even under biotic and abiotic stress;
In situ conservation of cultivated and wild species and plant communities at risk of extinction;
Plant genetics, genomics and transcriptomics;
Plant physiology;
Plant biotechnology;
Innovative approaches based on high-throughput platforms for genotyping and phenotyping applied to plants;
Study of gene function mediated heterologous expression in yeast and bacteria;
Bioinformatics and data analysis of massive parallel sequencing (Illumina platform) DNA (genomic BAC clones, amplicons), RNA and small RNA;
Genetic transformation of wheat.


The activities carried out at the Division of Perugia of IBBR are finalized at improving crop and forest productivity, in terms of quality, quantity and sustainability, by means of genomic, genetic and biotechnological approaches. To this end, germplasm collection and characterization, functional genomics, population genetics analysis, traceability and breeding by classical and biotechnological approaches are performed. Basic aspects related to biosynthesis, accumulation and transport of molecules in plant cells are also investigated.
Research activities are performed in model and crop species and consist on:
o genomics of olive (Olea europaea) and truffles (Tuber spp.);
o functional genomics in Medicago truncatula, Arabidopsis thaliana and Lotus spp.;
o gene identification and manipulation of biosynthetic pathways (Lotus spp., alfalfa, olive) and reproductive systems (Paspalum, Tuber spp.);
o production and storage of novel compounds in model and crop systems for pharmaceutical and industrial uses;
o development of molecular markers to apply for food traceability and genotyping of species, ecotypes and cultivars;
o exploration and introduction of novel crops for food (quinoa), feed (seed legumes) and energy production (alfalfa and Panicum for biomass, tobacco for oil).
Applied methodologies include: genome sequencing and annotation, high-throughput transcriptome analysis, micro-transcriptomics by LCM; gene modification, expression and targeting into nucleus, cytoplasm and/or organelles of model and crop plants of genes/molecules by means of Agrobacterium and biolistic methods; proteins synthesis, folding and targeting in plant cell by means of Pulse-Chase Labeling and immuno-precipitation, immuno-cytochemistry, sub-cellular fractionation, immuno-electron microscopy, SDS-PAGE and protein blot analysis; host plant inoculation with symbiotic fungi; in vitro isolation and cultivation of mycelia of symbiotic fungi; in vitro culture of plant cells, protoplasts, and tissues; plant mutagenesis, phenotyping and selection.


The UOS developed expertises on plant genetics and biotechnology in Solanaceae, model and biomass species. Specific areas deal with:
Genetics and genomics of plant/environment interactions
Genetics, genomics and epigenetics of plant reproduction
Genetics, genomics and epigenomics of fruit quality
Biology, genomics and biotechnology of cytoplasmic organelles
Plant biotechnology applications for agro-industry
Development, characterization and use of plant genetic resources
The methodologies include:
Gene cloning (e.g. Gateway Technology); Gene functional analysis by heterologous expression (plants, bacteria, yeast) and by mutagenesis; Gene silencing (RNAi; VIGs);
Plant genetic transformation (nuclear and plastid genomes) of crops and model species; Plant and cell in vitro cultures;
Cytology and histology (paraffin- and cryosections) of mitosis, meiosis, megagametogenesis, microgametogenesis, embryo development by differential staining, FISH (Fluorescent in situ hybridization), Immunostaining;
Genomics and Epigenomics: Molecular markers and SNP calling from next-generation sequencing data; Association mapping in crop plants; Advanced genotyping of segregating populations and fingerprinting by SNP-based markers; organelle isolation; RNA-Seq (coding and long non coding RNAs); Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) ChIP-RTPCR, ChIP-Seq; Bioinformatics;
Cell sorting: Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) and Isolation of Nuclei TAgged in specific Cell Types (INTACT);
Phenotyping and screening of plant populations.


The research unit (RU) leads studies in plant genetics with a strong inter-disciplinary approach, and its research is aimed to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying plant development. The research activity of the Section, historically focused on every aspect of Citrus genetics, has eventually encompassed the study of other plant species of regional interest and to basic research. The main research areas at the moment are: genetic improvement through traditional and biotechnological techniques; study of senescence; molecular characterization and genome analysis for the identification of useful genes for agriculture; tissue cultures for recovery from viral and bacterial infection; development of new genotypes with ornamental value; conservation of plant genetic diversity; plant biotechnology and molecular biology for crop improvement, identification of virus in Sicilian grapevine varieties Basic research includes the analysis of plant response to heavy metals, with particular attention to the signaling role of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species; the development of genetically encoded fluorescent sensors, for the in vivo measurement of metabolites.
Laboratories and Equipment (see also the complete list)
Cell Biology laboratory: horizontal flow hoods, fume hood, pHmeter, distiller, autoclaves, orbital shakers, temperature-controlled cabinets and growth chambers
Molecular Biology laboratory: centrifuges, thermocyclers, real-time PCR, electroporator, electrophoretic chambers, transilluminator, digital image station, spectrophotometer, spectrofluolometer, DNA analyzer LI-COR4300, citofluorimeter, PFGE, UV-crosslinker, thermo-shaked baths, magnetic stirrers, vortex, fume hood, -20°C e -80°C freezers, fridges.
Microscopy laboratory: inverted optical microscopes (Leica DMIRB) and 2 fluorescence microscopes (Leica and Zeiss AX10PHOT), equipped with digital camera and computer-connected.
Experimental Field of 10 hectares, provided by germplasm conservation equipments, 100-m2 screen-house, heated benches, growth chambers, irrigation system.

The Naples Division of the IBBR has taken place by merging part of the people formerly working at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics (IGB) and the Institute of Protein Biochemistry (IBP), along with their lab facilities. The research activities at the Naples Division are aimed at increasing the knowledge on basic biology and are mainly focused on the genetic and biochemical mechanisms underlying the agro-food production and the sustainable use of agro-food resources in the biomedical, biochemical and evironmental fields.
In particular, the Naples Division of IBBR will develop the following research lines:
oResearch on basic biology, model species and organisms of agricultural, forest and environmental interests.
oBiomolecule characterization and engineering aimed at developing biotechnologies of agricultural, forest and environmental interests.
oNutraceutics, functional food, genomic variability, and their role for human health and disease prevention.