Research and development

The scientific research is still one of the main strong points by Agroservice S.p.A, that has always looked at world’s scientific situation as far as genetic improvement and the development of new technologies that can be applied to it are concerned.
Nowadays Agrosevice S.p.A. aims to become a company that is leader in the scientific field for obtaining varieties that better fit the need of both farmers and processing industries.
It is no accident that the company can boast the purchase of ISEA which used to belong to Angelini Group, that has always been careful in the scientific development, reaching a leading position in such a field. Regarding this, we would like to remind you that ISEA possesses 35 patents and varieties. We can state that ISEA has given a huge contribution to hard wheat’s spread in Italy due to the diffusion of the variety called Creso, of ENEA constitution.
Nowadays through the purchase by Agroservice, ISEA is redefining its own role with the objective of a further requalification in the research, by widening its laboratories in favour of the newest and most advanced molecular biology technologies that scientific development puts at its disposal.
In fact from the cooperation with CERMIS- Research and Experimentation Centre for the Plant Improvement “N.Strampelli” of Tolentino (MC) (a body of which Agroservice S.p.A. is a partner), we are bound to realise a molecular biology laboratory that will be used as a support for the selection of new plant varieties.
Also due to the more and more information at a genomic level we are given by the scientific world, the task will be the one of getting superior genotypes suitable to the different agro-environmental conditions both at a National and a European level.
there is also an on-going cooperation with CRA (operative department of Foggia) for the development of some hard wheat varieties.
in the field of scientific research for the leguminous, Agroservice in addition to the cooperation with CERMIS, also cooperates with ENEA in a project for the development of some varieties of chickpea, proteic pea, field bean and vetch.
In particular we will try to conciliate an excellent productive performance with the acquisition of resistance against some of the most important pathogens of the leguminous, that is to say Ascochyta spp. Fusarium spp. etc.
in the field of soil experimentation Agroservice makes use of a wide surface made available by CERMIS as far as the first generations of selection are concerned, while a network of external fields located all over the national territory is used for the evaluation of agronomic and qualitative performances of the new lines in an advanced selection phase and for the detecting of the most suitable agronomic technique for each new product, which enables to elaborate information about the best cultivation technique to be put into effect for the complete valorisation of the genetic potential held in the seed.
Historical hints about the evolution of genetics.

Since the beginning of the plants’ domestication two historical moments have revolutionized such a process, bringing to obtaining some plant material which better answered the requested requirements as the historic course of the farmer was going on. The first of these two moments was at the beginning of last century, when people understood the importance of Gregor Johann Mendel’s ideas (Experiments on plant hybrids, published in the journal of the Society of Natural History of Brno in 1866 ) .

Gregor Johann Mendel

In 1900, his work was re-discovered by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak. Ronald Fisher in 1918 used the theory by Mendel as the base for the modern synthesis in evolutionistic biology.
What could have been a vision of the phenotype was in reality the final result of a complex biologic process still unknown, but that was soon revealed.
Two researches smoothened the way to the comprehension of which biologic processes were at the base of the genetic differences among the different species o among the individuals of the same species; they were the American James Watson and the British Francis Crick, who in 1953 introduced in the journal called Nature what is ascertained today as the first accurate model of the DNA structure: the one of the double helix.
This is the second fundamental historic moment which will deeply mark the evolution of modern genetics.
In an important presentation dated back in 1957, Crick proposed the central dogma of molecular biology, establishing the relationships among DNA, RNA and proteins. The final confirmation of the replication mechanism based on the helix structure was supplied in 1958 by the experiment made by Meselson-Stahl. A further work by Crick demonstrated how the genetic code was based on triplets of bases that were not superimposed, enabling Har Gobind Khorana, Robert Holley and Marshall Warren Nirenberg to decode it. These discoveries are at the base of modern molecular biology.

James Watson
Francis Crick

Since the far 1953 the research on DNA has greatly progressed. Nowadays we no longer discuss about the DNA structure, which is ascertained by now, but about what a particular piece of DNA does, about how our history was already written in this molecule, about the relationship between DNA and diseases and the use of this molecule in what is defined as the new biotechnologies.
However we should not forget a third key step that enabled us to read the huge sequence of nitrogenated bases being the genetic information of each living individual: the discovery of the polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) a technique that revolutionized the world of chemistry and genetics, enabling the in vitro amplification of DNA fragments, with numberless applications either in the medical, agricultural and animal world as well as in judiciary’s investigations.
This discovery was made in 1983 by Kary Banks Mullis and in 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Kary Banks Mullis

If today molecular technology has brought us to sequence different genomes of different living species, among which there is man, and to detect many genes of human, animal and agricultural interest, we have to express a fervent thanks to this man I had the pleasure to meet in person.

Dr. Vincenzo Natoli Ph.D.
Research and Development Manager

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