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Recent conceptual and instrumental developments have extended the scope of the projects of full genome sequencing projects to numerous species of plants, animals and microorganisms. This has contributed to a growing interest in the application of such knowledge to expand the genetic variability explored by breeding programs.
In all lines of research, Bioinformatics is being integrated to the different projects of INIA. Techniques and computational capabilities are available to address management and processing of data from last generation mass sequencing, genotyping of populations (search for SNPs), de novo assembly of genomes and interpretation of results of trascriptomes, as well as studies on microbial diversity and functional metagenomics.

Plant Tissue Culture

The development of in vitro techniques for plant cell and tissue culture has generated numerous biotechnological applications, which have a significant impact on the fields of plant production, genetic improvement, preservation of plant genetic resources and biosynthesis of plant products of commercial interest.

In the horticultural area, one of the most widely used techniques is the generation of plants free of virus through meristem culture. In vegetative propagation species, the health of the starting material is essential to produce high-quality plants. In potato, sweet potato, garlic and strawberry, plants are generated every year from advanced clones with controlled health, and the new varieties obtained from breeding programs are multiplied.

As regards fruit trees, micropropagation protocols are developed, as massive propagation makes available to breeding programs a stock of plants that allow evaluation under identical conditions of clonal rootstocks of peach, apple, pear and native species.

In forest species, systems are being developed for in vitro multiplication to develop a stock of selected plants, mainly of eucalyptus, which are used for clonal trials in different regions of the country.

Other techniques were added to conventional techniques, contributing to the generation of variability and new materials in plant breeding programs. Protocols were developed to rescue embryos from interspecific crosses between selected species, for example, various forage species and different species of the genus Solanum.

The conservation of germplasm in vitro is an important activity in vegetative propagation species. We have an in vitro germplasm bank for sweet potato, potato and wild species such as S. commersonii, characterized by tolerance or susceptibility to the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum and by its high content of glycoalkaloids.
Culture media have been adjusted to make possible the preservation of species in the medium term, and also in the long term, e.g.: cryopreservation.

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Animal DNA Genomic Bank
An Animal DNA Genomic Bank has been recently implemented. The Bank was created as a joint initiative between INIA and the Rural Association of Uruguay (ARU) in 2009. It has a clear role as a reservoir for livestock genetics at the national level and is therefore responsible for the management, conservation and custody of its samples. The DNA value is given to a large extent by the productive information of the sample, since the interpretation of the genetic code obtained from genotyping depends on its associated data. In this context, the reference populations for genomic studies and genomic selection are clear examples of the material to be preserved. Counting on genetic material of reference of national populations for traits that are relevant for our production systems allows us to make the maximum use of the biotechnological tools available. The creation and implementation of the Animal DNA Genomic Bank is an important step forward toward the establishment of an animal genomic selection platform.