Workshop”Introduction to (Crop) Epigenetics” was organized in period 23 – 24 February 2023 at Padua, Italy as part of the activities in WP1 Strengthening scientific capacity, task 1.1. The workshop was held at the Agripolis campus of the University of Padua.

The event was organized through a two-day series of interactive lectures, encouraging all participants to engage in discussion, exchange of opinions and experiences. As epigenetics is emerging field of science, together with the lecturers, participants took part in analyzing problems and providing potential solutions to open questions in this field.

At the beginning, prof. Dr. Serena Varotto and prof. Dr. Dragana Miladinović (CROPPINO coordinator) greeted all participants and thanked them for their participation. Workshop was attended by experienced researchers, as well as doctoral and masters degree students from partner institutions participating in the CROPPINO project: Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops from Serbia, University of Padua from Italy, University of Rostock from Germany, and the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture from Córdoba in Spain.

During the lectures, a systematic and comprehensive overview of the main mechanisms of epigenetic changes was given: chemical modifications of the DNA, proteins (histones) and the regulatory role of non-coding RNAs. Each of these mechanisms aims to make a certain place in the genome available, or unavailable for expression depending on the development stage and needs of plant. In addition to the theoretical aspects, examples from studies on different plants (crops) were presented, to learn how epigenetic changes occur in response to the developmental stages or to the environmental factors, primarily stress. Potential problems that arise during the setup of the experiment were discussed together with the ways to collect plant material for RNA isolation, and to examine transcriptome. Approaches and platforms for DNA and RNA sequencing and analysis were also presented, giving a systematic overview of latest technology in this field.

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