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Scientific Program


September 27-28, 2021 at 09:30 AM CET 
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Paris, France

Keynote Session:

Meetings International -  Conference Keynote Speaker Karen Swanepoel photo

Karen Swanepoel

Executive Director, Southern African Essential Oil Producers Association, South Africa

Title: The importance of standards for essential and seed oils crops of indigenous plants used in Southern Africa


Karen Swanepoel is an Executive Director of SAEOPA (Southern African Essential Oil Producers’ Association), involved in many industry studies in the field of essential oils since 2000. She has lectured on botany, bio-entrepreneurship, biotechnology and environmental science. She also presented papers at IPUF (Indigenous Plant Use Forum) and on international level at WOCMAP (World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants), ISEO (International Society of Essential Oils), ASNAPP (Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products), Green Gold, SAAB (South African Association of Botanists), African Crop Science Society, Agricultural and Training World Conference, CHEMRAWN (Committee on Chemical Research Applied to World Needs) and Industrial Crops and Rural Enterprises. She did publications for the Department of Trade & Industry, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries and Acta Horticulturae. She worked as a consultant for UNIDO in the GQSP-SA (Global Quality and Standards Programme - South Africa) project.


The essential oil industry is a fast-growing and changing industry and African plants are now fashionable to be included in new products containing natural products. Essential oils such as Agathosma spp. Pelargonium var Rose, Lippia javanica, Eriocephalus punctulatus, Helichrysum splendidum and cold- pressed or vegetable oils of indigenous plants amongst others are the focus areas. Adansonia digitata (Baobab) and Schlerocarya birrea (Marula) oil, and the pulp and powder of both are undersupplied in a growing market of currently developed products that have already been accepted by most international companies. Ximenia africana and X. americana, Citrullus lanatus (Kalahari melon) and Shinziophyton rautanenni (Manketi/Mongongo) oils are now researched for developing market demand and for the requirements in the natural products industry. It is applaudable how much effort has gone into the recognition of intellectual property rights and humanitarian benefits of a relatively small industry. Regulations and standards for Agricultural practises, sustainable collection, conservation and organic practises, labour and social issues as well as labelling and safety are initiated and adhered too. Even packaging, storage and transport has regulations. Producers are often complaining about the extent of documentation that is needed to export. Many of these regulations are externally formed by bodies of the trade while the industry should be more self-regulated either by governments or standard bodies that are affiliated with International Standard Organization (ISO). This could empower the producers and enhance quality production while improving the tendency of the producers to be price takers instead of price makers. There are almost no existing standards for quality of the products from Africa and if the demand increases, the most-needed standards should be developed at the same time to avoid exploitation. Advantages and challenges have been identified concomitant with the potential of sustainable crop development and ten species with most potential is discussed. The Botanical name, the international CAS (Chemical Abstract Services) number where applicable, ecological status, agricultural information, characteristic component of each oil is mentioned, applications, market trends, development towards a standard, comments and concerns as well as progress of standard were tabulated for the ten species mentioned. Despite climate change and pressure on natural resources the crops can be managed if sustainability measures are carefully and timely taken to the alleviation of poverty in rural areas. Unfortunately financing for these entrepreneurs of natural products are problematic.  Financial institutions are not keen to finance high risk perceived industries like oil-bearing plant crops. The notion that natural products are supplied by less developed countries for products sought after by effluent societies still exist. The industry needs to convince these financial institutions with production built on known and controlled quality systems as sustainable and profitable. Governments should assist the new niche enterprises to grow to its full potential. This paper could assist role players of community projects and agricultural and rural development schemes in decisions of choosing alternative crops and for skills and entrepreneurship development and poverty alleviation. The information can also be applied by government departments, small-scale and emerging farmers in the feasibility studies of the utilization of natural products as new enterprises to the ultimate advantage of the producers of South Africa and the consumer.

Meetings International -  Conference Keynote Speaker Yalcin Kaya photo

Yalcin Kaya

Trakya University, Turkey

Title: New directions in sunflower breeding


Yalcin Kaya, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey has longer carrier and experience on plant breeding and genetics and developed many sunflower hybrids and lines. He has worked in research institute as National Sunflower Coordinator and as Project leader for over 20 years and deputy director. He had M Sc in University of Nebraska, Lincoln, US, and Post Doc on sunflower breeding in USDA Sunflower Lab at Fargo, ND, US. Now he is Plant Breeding Research Center director and Genetic Engineering Dept. Head at university. He is also former President of Turkish Plant Breeders Union and International Sunflower Association. He published more than 200 papers.


As a summer crop, sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) influences from climatic conditions more such as drought, hot temperatures, etc during the vegetation period because of mostly growing in drylands in the world. Mostly hybrids exist in the sunflower seed market almost all growing countries for many years and new genes have been adding to genetic background year by year based on current needs and by growing areas and these are mostly resistant to some diseases, weeds and broomrape parasite which are main limiting factors of sunflower yield as well as in few amount as tolerant to abiotic stress too. Until today, mostly classical breeding methods have been used to obtain and develop these new sunflower hybrids containing these desired characteristics but the use molecular breeding methods have also increased recently in both public and private sunflower breeding programs almost all part of the world. However, due to global warming, sunflower breeders should include many different traits especially in abiotic stress tolerance mostly to drought into new developed hybrids which have higher seed yielding potential and adaptation capability in addition to tolerance to biotic stresses (weeds, diseases and broomrape). Wild sunflower (Helianthus family has 51 species) present huge opportunities to sunflower breeders both finding useful genes and also creating genetic variations in desired traits in their breeding gene pool in their nurseries. However, new molecular breeding methods help enormously to breeders for screening of their genetic materials in huge amounts and accelerating their breeding program as well as transferring these desired genes into cultivated one from wild types and interspecific crosses and constituting gene pyramiding for longer resistance in developing new hybrids and inbred lines in sunflower. Nowadays, most of sunflower hybrids which especially in Blacksea region which has over 60% of planted areas in the world and in Europe have at least three dimensions’ resistance as herbicide tolerance (IMI or SU herbicides) and new races of broomrape resistant and also new races of downy mildew resistance in sunflower market. However, utilizing from molecular markers as well as using genotyping-by-sequencing and association mapping methods will help to breeders to add new traits in their lines and hybrids quickly and practically both for biotic stresses such as disease tolerance and also abiotic stress tolerance in the future.

Title: Metabolism and regulation of secondary metabolism in herbal Traditional Chinese Medicine


Shihai Xing is  a distinguished Professor of Anhui University of Chinese Medicine & Anhui Academy of Chinese Medicine from 2017. His current reserach is on Metabolism and regulation of secondry metabolism in herbal Traditional Chinese Medicine of Anhui Province


The microbiome of medicinal plants may directly impact the metabolome of the host, and thus could influence the efficacy of herbal medicine. We advocate a herb for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Salvia miltiorrhiza, as a prime model system to study how microbes may interact with medicinal plants to modify phytochemical production.

Oral Session 1:

  • Plant Genome Science | Agricultural Science | Aromatic and Medicinal plant Sciences


Karen Swanepoel

Southern African Essential Oil Producers Association, South Africa



Yalcin Kaya

Trakya University, Turkey

Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Yue-ie C. Hsing photo

Yue-ie C. Hsing

Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Title: Taiwan oil millet - a novel C4 cereal plant that secrete liquid and solid wax


Yue-ie C. Hsing has completed her PhD at the age of 34 from University of Illinois, USA. She is a Distinguished Research Fellow in Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She major in plant genomics studies and has published more than 100 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as an editorial board members of Rice, Botanical Studies, and Plant and Cell Physiology.


Eccoilopus formosanus (Taiwan Oil Millet, TOM) is an orphan cereal endemic to Taiwan that was domesticated by the aboriginal population. TOM is a perennial C4 species, remarkable in that it secretes large quantities of oil and/or liquid wax on the panicle and copious amounts of solid wax on the leaf sheaths of a substantial vegetative biomass. TOM seeds possess an exceptionally large embryo, rich in triacylglycerol and protein. TOM constitutes an oil-rich cereal crop possessing an energy-rich biomass. The panicle exudate contains fatty acids, with high % of C28 chain lengths together with diverse alkanes. The leaf sheath epiderm secretes a uniform cuticular wax and a solid wax in the form of hairs from arrays of pores. The wax hairs comprise fatty acids chain length up to C26 and abundant alkanes up to C34. The seed contains 13.3% protein and 11% triacylglycerol, exceptionally high for cereals, enriched in linoleic acids. The species is unique in the combination of physiological attributes and may constitute a multifunctional crop of value as an energy-rich biomass and/or a source of plant waxes for industrial uses as well as a protein-calorie rich seed. We are currently work on the omics analysis of this crop, we also are developing it into ideal staple crop and forage crop.

Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Lusia Fernanda Matiz Ceron photo

Lusia Fernanda Matiz Ceron

Universidad de los Andes, Columbia

Title: Bayesian classifiers for the evaluation of genetic markers in plants


Lusia Fernanda Matiz Ceron is a phd student in Universidad de los Andes, Columbia.


DNA barcodes are standardized DNA sequences that usually range between 400 to 800 bp, vary at different taxonomic levels and make it possible to quickly identify new individuals of species that have been previously sequenced and classified taxonomically. Several barcodes have been identified and evaluated for different groups in the tree of life, however, there are many groups that still lack a good DNA marker, and even more so, accurate strategies that enable the verification of their taxonomic affiliation. For plants there are several DNA barcodes that have been postulated, nonetheless, their classification potential has not been evaluated systematically, and as a result, it would appear as not one excels above the others. One of the tools that has recently gained traction in this field is the use of Naïve Bayesian Classifiers. This type of classifier is based on the autonomy of attributes and the allocation of categories on a given context, having been mainly used in the classification of genes such as the bacterial 16S. In the present study we evaluate the classification power of several plant biomarkers that may work as barcodes (trnL, rpoB, rbcL, matK, psbA-trnH and psbK) using a Naïve Bayesian Classifier, in order to determine markers what work best at different taxonomic levels.

Classification performance of the proposed biomarkers is differential, having all of them enough resolution to classify at family level, and two of them (trnL and matK) had the best performance at genus level. None of the markers had enough resolution for species level. Increasing K-mer size has an effect on taxonomic classification, however this benefit is marginal with respect to the computational cost. Confusion matrix indicates that genera with lots of species tend to misclassify more often than genera with less species. Finally, we provide Greengenes-like databases derived from NCBI data for researchers who want to use these resources in their own research.

Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Tian Qing Zheng photo

Tian Qing Zheng

Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

Title: Towards a deeper haplotype mining of complex traits in rice with RFGB v2.0


Tian-Qing Zheng, is working on rice data mining and molecular breeding in the Institute of Crop Sciences (ICS), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). He is now working as the Functional Unit Leader for Crop Breeding Design in an Crop Open Lab of CAAS. His research interests are focused around data-mining and improvement of complex traits in rice. He is leading the project for the development of the RFGB (Rice Functional Genomics Breeding) website, which has been now updated to version 2.0


After big genotypic dataset such as the 3000-rice genome (3K-RG) are becoming open through various platforms, one-stand solutions which could offer user-friendly web services for users with overwhelming phenotyping data based on the sequenced genomes are sincerely desired. Here we introduce a new version of the Rice Functional Genomic and Breeding (RFGBv2.0). It includes five major modules, which are: Phenotype, Haplotype, SNP & InDel, Restore Sequence, and Germplasm. Their functions are described with the embedded 3K-RG data as example. Four tips of iceberg for user cases of RFGB v2.0 with corresponding technical routes were presented including: 1) exploring favorable donors for higher zinc concentration in milled grains, 2) shortlisting candidate genes for grain length with near isogenic lines, 3) mining favorable haplotypes for seedling vigor traits under paddy direct seeding system, and 4) variations and restore sequence seeking for a leaf rolling QTL region. RFGB v2.0 has offered a unique view on bridging the huge gaps between two big datasets of genome and phenome from 3K-RG, which will spark more ideas on deeper mining of complex traits in rice.

Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Ruchika photo


Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

Title: RNA-Seq-based identification and analysis of uridine-to-cytidine RNA editing related genes in Arabidopsis thaliana


Ruchika is currently pursuing her phD under Dr. Toshifumi Tsukahara in the Area of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan.


Cytosine-to-Uridine (C-to-U) and adenine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing involves the deamination phenomenon, which is common in animals and plants; however, the amination of U-to-C is confined to the plants. In this study, the high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of 12-days-old Arabidopsis seedlings was performed, which enables transcriptome-wide identification of RNA editing sites to analyse differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and nucleotide base conversions. The results showed that DEGs were expressed to higher levels in 12-days-old seedlings than in 20-days-old seedlings. This was confirmed by higher higher Fragment Per Kilobase of transcript per Million mapped reads (FPKM) values, read counts, and more up-regulated genes, in 12-days-old seedlings. Additionally, pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) genes were also expressed at higher levels as indicated by the log2FC values. The U-to-C RNA editing are predominantly found in the untranslated region (UTR) region of the mature mRNA and affect its secondary structure. Our results suggest that U-to-C RNA editing in mature transcripts impacts plant physiology. Furthermore, we investigated the physiological role of U-to-C RNA editing in Arabidopsis by using the transcription inhibitor, Actinomycin D (ActD). Addition of ActD to the cell suspension culture of transgenic Arabidopsis generated by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation revealed that single nucleotide conversion adversely affects the secondary structure and mRNA half-life of PPR protein.

Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Nathalie Kuhn photo

Nathalie Kuhn

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso, Chile

Title: Differential transcriptomic profile between early- and late-maturing sweet cherry varieties in response to GA3 reveals a role of gibberellins during fruit ripening


Nathalie Kuhn is PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology program of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has her expertise on crop science and she is currently Associate Professor in the Agronomy School of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. From a molecular perspective she explores physiological processes using fruit tree models like grapevine and sweet cherry. She is passionate for understanding the explanation of plant responses. She also aims to integrate plant science discoveries with applied crops science, to make a contribution in this area


Gibberellins (GAs) are extensively used in agriculture. GA3 treatment is known to affect fruit ripening in non-climacteric fruit crops, causing a delay in fruit color development and anthocyanin accumulation. It additionally increases fruit size and firmness and may affect sugar and acidity. However, there is few information about the molecular interactions of exogenously applied GA3 reported in non-climacteric fruits, such as sweet cherry. In sweet cherry fruits GA4 and GA3 accumulate prior to ripening initiation, but then they reduce their content as the fruit colors. GA4 is negatively correlated with anthocyanin and sugar content.

Here we found that anthocyanin content and several ripening related parameters were affected by GA3 when applied prior to ripening initiation in sweet cherry fruits. Differential transcriptomic profile was found between GA3- and control-treated fruits. Auxin response, photosynthesis and cell division GO categories were found to be overrepresented. The results suggest that GAs negatively affect ripening possibly by controlling pathways related to the ripening process, but on the other hand, there is a fruit sizing effect, that possibly depends on the activation of cell proliferation.

Oral Session 2:

  • ePosters & Video Presentations
Meetings International - Plant Genomics 2021 Conference Keynote Speaker Zainab Khanum photo

Zainab Khanum

International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, Pakistan

Title: Adaptation mechanism of mango fruit (Mangifera indica L. cv. Chaunsa White) to Heat suggest modulation in several metabolic pathways


Zainab Khanum has her expertise in next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, GC-MS analysis, and functional genomics. Her research interests include developmental genetics and Cancer related functional genomics. She is a Biotechnology graduate from the University of Karachi, Pakistan. She is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Pakistan. Her training at ICCBS has earned her the post-doctoral research opportunity at University of Adelaide, Australia.


Climate change is becoming a world problem because of its harmful effects on crop productivity. In this regard, it is crucial to carry out studies to determine the crop's response molecular mechanism to heatwave stress. Response molecular mechanisms during the development and ripening of mango fruit (Mangifera indica L. cv. Chaunsa White) under extreme heatwaves were studied. Mango flowers were tagged and fruits with 18, 34, 62, 79, 92 days after flowering (DAF) as well as fruits with 10 and 15 days of postharvest shelf life were studied through RNA-seq and metabolome of the fruit mesocarp. The environmental temperature was recorded during experiment. Roughly, 2,000,000 clean reads were generated and assembled into 12,876 redundant transcripts and 2,674 non-redundant transcripts. The expression of genes playing a role in oxidative stress, circadian rhythm, senescence, glycolysis, secondary metabolite biosynthesis, flavonoid biosynthesis and monoterpenoid biosynthesis was quantified as well as changes in reactive oxygen species. Higher expressions of six abiotic stress genes and a senescent associated gene was found at 79 DAF (recorded temperature 44 oC). Higher expressions of nucleoredoxin and glutathione S-transferase 1 family protein were also recorded. Activation of the GABA-shunt pathway was detected by the glutamate decarboxylase transcript expression at 79 DAF. Larger energy demands at the beginning of fruit ripening were indicated by an increase in fructose-bisphosphate aldolase gene expression. Finally, the radical-scavenging effect of mango fruit inflorescence and fruit pulp extracts showed decline upon heatwave exposure. We recorded a broad genetic response of mango fruit suggesting the activation of several metabolic pathways which indicated the occurrence of genetic and metabolic crosstalks in response to intense heatwaves. Collectively, this study presents experimental evidences to help in the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of crops response to heat stress which in turn will help in the designing of protocols to increase crop productivity in the face of World’s climate change.

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Paris, France