Projects

Tolerance to environmental stresses - In any given year and especially with increasing global warming, farmers around the world are at risk of being affected by drought. The ability of plants to maintain high yields even at unfavorable water conditions can allow for cultivation of crops even in arid areas and significantly reduce irrigation costs and crop losses.

Rosetta Green has identified MicroRNAs that were used to develop prototype plants with significantly improved drought tolerance. These plants were able to withstand a prolonged period of severe drought, at the end of which both control (untreated) and Rosetta Green's plants were irrigated normally. Control plants could not recover from the severe stress, while Rosetta Greens' improved plants recovered and continued to grow and flourish as can be seen in the following photo:

We are working on identifying additional MicroRNAs that could be related to drought tolerance and additional environmental stresses such as salinity and heat shock in all major crops.
With a constantly-increasing world population, modern agriculture faces tremendous challenges with increasing crop yields being a major shared goal. Rosetta Green is working on identifying MicroRNAs that could potentially be used to develop crops with increased and improved yields.

Fertilizer Use Efficiency -  It is estimated that plants only utilize about 30-70% of the fertilizer that is applied to them during their life cycle. This causes significant capital loss and contamination of water reservoirs. Increasing the efficiency by which plants absorb fertilizers can therefore be of great economical and environmental benefits. Rosetta Green has identified MicroRNAs that correlate with improved Fertilizer Use Efficiency in corn and soybean and continues to further validate the function of these MicroRNAs and to identify novel MicroRNAs in these and additional crops. Functional validation in model plants of some of the microRNA genes is currently in progress.

Food and Fiber Quality - There is a constant search for developing fruit with improved nutritional values and plant material with superior fibers quality. This includes tastier vegetables, healthier oil seeds, improved cotton fibers and more. Improving these traits could have a positive effect on human well-being and quality of life. Rosetta Green has identified microRNAs that correlate with flavor traits in tomato and fiber-quality traits in cotton. We continue to work on identifying MicroRNAs that could be used to develop plants with superior flavor and fiber traits.