May in Novi Sad was definitely dedicated to Italy. Apart from International agricultural fair with Italy, as partner country, we had an interesting visit from our Italian colleagues within the frame of Work package 1 aimed to strengthening scientific capacity of researchers from Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops.
The visit was focused on transcriptome analyses for the identification of candidate genes related to drought tolerance. Visiting professor Serena Varotto is expert in the emerging field of plant epigenetics. Together with her accompanying colleague, Irene Luzzi, they introduced us with the protocols for RNA isolation and RT-PCR analysis. We analysed jointly data from our first experiment and learned about critical points for obtaining high quality results. Gained knowledge will be used in Work package 2 which is dedicated to implementation and validation of different phenotyping and multi-omics tools in sunflower breeding for improved stress resilience.

On the last day of their stay, they gave a lecture to all our employees on the subject of Crop epigenetics, which resulted in fruitful discussion mostly between (pre)breeders and biotechnologist.
This type of collaboration has allowed us to increase the expertise and resources of both institutions, enabling us to make substantial strides towards understanding the genetic basis of drought tolerance in sunflower. Cropinno expresses its gratitude to professor Varotto and MSc Luzzi for their valuable contribution to increase research capacity of IFVCNS.