PI:  Dr  Viviana Echenique
      Senior Researcher, CONICET
      Professor, Dept. of Agronomy,  UNS 


Our group is dedicated to elucidate the molecular and genetic bases of diplosporous apomixis using Eragrostis curvula as plant model. Apomixis is an asexual reproductive mode, by seeds, that generates progenies genetically identical to the mother plant.
During the last 15 years, our group has been working towards the identification of those genes and genomic regions that are involved in apomixis in Eragrostis curvula by different strategies, namely transcriptomics, cytoembryology, molecular analysis, high density mapping (GBS-SNPs), and genome sequencing. 
The knowledge concerning the factors that determine apomixis will have a great impact on agriculture, yielding benefits comparable to those that occurred during the Green Revolution.

Lines of Research

  • High density mapping and localization of genomic regions.
  • Genome sequencing and assembly.
  • Functional Genomics. 
  • Epigenetics: sRNA analysis and RNA-directed DNA methylation.

Recent Publications

  • Carballo, J., Zappacosta, D. Marconi, G., Gallardo, J., DiMarsico, M., Gallo, C.A., Caccamo, M., Albertini, E. & Echenique, V. (2021). Differential Methylation Patterns in Apomictic vs. Sexual Genotypes of the Diplosporous Grass Eragrostis curvula.  Plants 10(5), 946. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10050946
  • Selva, J.P., Zappacosta, D., Carballo,J., Rodrigo,J.M., Bellido, A., Gallo, C.A., Gallardo, J. & Echenique, V. (2020). Genes Modulating the Increase in Sexuality in the Facultative Diplosporous Grass Eragrostis curvula under Water Stress Conditions.  Genes 11(9), 969. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11090969
  • Garbus, I., Selva, J.P., Pasten, M.C., Bellido, A.M., Carballo, J., Albertini, E. & Echenique, V. (2019). Characterization and discovery of miRNA and miRNA targets from apomictic and sexual genotypes of Eragrostis curvulaBMC Genomics 20(839), 2-13.
  • Carballo, J., Santos, B.A.C.M., Zappacosta, D., Garbus, I., Selva, J.P., Gallo, C.A., Díaz, A., Albertini, E., Caccamo, M. & Echenique, V. (2019). A high-quality genome of Eragrostis curvula grass provides insights into Poaceae evolution and supports new strategies to enhance forage quality. Scientific Reports 9, 10250. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46610-0
  • Zappacosta, D., Gallardo, J., Carballo, J., Meier, M., Rodrigo, J.M., Gallo, C.A., Selva, J.P., Stein, J., Ortíz, Albertini E. &  Echenique, V. (2019). A High-Density Linkage Map of the Forage Grass Eragrostis curvula and Localization of the Diplospory. Frontiers in Plant Science 10, article 918.doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00918
  • Garbus, I., Romero, J.R., Selva, J.P., Pasten, M.C., Chinestra, C., Carballo, J. & Echenique, V. (2017). De novo transcriptome sequencing and assembly from apomictic and sexual Eragrostis curvula genotypes. PLoS ONE 12(11), e0185595, 1-22. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0185595.
  • Rodrigo, J.M., Zappacosta, D., Selva, J.P., Garbus, I., Albertini, E. & Echenique, V. (2017). Apomixis Frequency under Stress Conditions in Weeping Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula). PLoS ONE 12(4), e0175852, 1-17. 
  • Selva, J.P., Siena, L., Rodrigo, J.M., Garbus, I., Zappacosta, D., Romero, J.R., Ortiz, J.P., Pessino, S.C., Leblanc, O. & Echenique, V. (2017). Temporal and spatial expression of genes involved in DNA methylation during reproductive development of sexual and apomictic Eragrostis curvula. Scientific Reports 7(article:15092), 1-11.DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-14898-51
  • Romero, J.R., Selva, J.P., Pessino, S., Echenique, V. & Garbus, I. (2016). Survey of repetitive sequences in Eragrostis curvula cDNA EST libraries obtained from genotypes with different ploidy level. Biologia Plantarum 60, 55-67. ISSN: 006-3134. DOI:10.1007/s10535-015-0569-z.
  • Romero, J.R., Carballido, J., Garbus, I., Echenique, V. & Ponzoni, I. (2016). A Bioinformatics Approach for Detecting Repetitive Nested Motifs Using Pattern Matching. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 12, 247-251. ISSN: 1176-9343.

Registered Plant Material

  • INASE Register of Cultivars. Pasto llorón (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees). Material: UNST1122 (Victoria).  Institution: UNS-ACA. Authors: Echenique V, Polci P, Cardone S, Selva JP. RC9192, 2006-2026.
  • INASE Register of Cultivars. Pasto llorón (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees). Material: UNST1131 (Bahiense). Institution: UNS-ACA. Authors: Echenique V, Polci P, Cardone S, Selva JP. RC9193, 2006-2026.
  • INASE Register of Cultivars. Pasto llorón (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees). Material: UNST9446 (cv. Don Luis). Institution: UNS-ACA. Authors: Polci P, Echenique V, Cardone S, Selva JP, Zappacosta D. RC9191, 2006-2026.

National and International  Collaborations

  • Dr. Mario Cáccamo NIAB Cambridge, UK
  • Dr. Emidio Albertini UNPG, Perugia, Italy
  • Dr. Lucia Colombo UNIMIL, Milano, Italy
  • Dr. Gabriella Consonni, UNIMIL, Milano, Italy
  • Dr. Marta Mendes, UNIMIL, Milano, Italy
  • Dr. Olivier Leblanc, IRD, Montpellier, France
  • Dr. Silvina Pessino, IICAR and UNR, Rosario
  • Dr. Juan Pablo Ortiz, IICAR and UNR, Rosario


  • H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019. ID: 872417. Mechanisms of Apomictic Developments (MAD). Proyecto de Cooperación Internacional Financiado por la UE. IR: Olivier Leblanc, IRD Montpellier Francia. Nodos Participantes: Italia (UNIPG, UNIMIL, UNIPAD, CNR), México (CINVESTAV), Reino Unido (NIAB), Australia (University of Adelaide), Suiza (Universitat  Monto total proyecto: 952.200 euros. Nodo CERZOS: IR Viviana Echenique
  • H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014. ID 645674. Plant Reproduction for Crop Improvement (PROCROP). Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014, EU-funded International Cooperation Project. PI: Emidio Albertini, UNIPG, Perugia, Italy. Participating nodes: Italy (UNIPG, UNIMIL, Polo GGB), France (IRD), Argentina (UNR/ICAR, CERZOS). CERZOS Node: PI Viviana Echenique.

  • PICT Raíces 2014-1243. Secuenciación del genoma de Eragrostis curvula a fin de identificar genes relacionados con el modo reproductivo y calidad del forraje. PI: Dr. Viviana Echenique (CERZOS, Argentina) and Dr. Mario Cáccamo (TGAC, UK).

  • PIP CONICET 2015 11220150100963. Evaluación del rol de los pequeños RNAs en la regulación de la apomixis diplospórica en Eragrostis curvula. CO. PI: Dr. Ingrid Garbus (Echenique V, Zappacosta D, Selva JP).

  • PICT Raíces 2017-0879. Genómica estructural para acceder a la región condicionante de la apomixis en Eragrostis curvula. PI: Dr. Viviana Echenique (CERZOS) and Dr. Mario Cáccamo (NIAB, UK).

PhD thesis approved in the last  years

Lic. Mauro Meier. Doctor in Biology. Thesis topic: Localización genómica de regiones asociadas a la displosporia a través del mapeo genético de alta densidad y determinación de la herencia del carácter en Eragrostis curvula. Universidad nacional del Sur, Septiembre 2019.
Agr. Eng. Claudia Terenti Romero. Doctor in Agronomy. Thesis topic: Obtención y evaluación de nuevos materiales de pasto llorón (Eragrostis curvula, Schrad Ness) y desarrollo de protocolos biotecnológicos para su utilización en programas de mejoramiento de la especie. Universidad Nacional del Sur, Diciembre 2015.


Group Members

Dr. Ingrid Garbus
Independent Researcher, CONICET
Adjunct Professor, 
Departament of Health Sciences, UNS

Dr. Juan Pablo Selva

Assistant Researcher, CONICET
Teaching Assistant,
Dept. of Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy, UNS 
Dr. Juan Pablo Selva

Dr. Diego Zappacosta

Adjunct Researcher, CONICET
Associate Professor, 
Department of Agronomy, UNS

Dr. Alejandra Díaz
Principal Professional, CONICET
Teaching Assistant, UNS
Dra. Alejandra Díaz

 Cristian Gallo
Adjunct Professional, CONICET
Teaching Assistant, UNS
Dr. Cristian Gallo

Dr. Andrés Bellido

Postdoctoral Fellow, ANPCyT
Dr. Andrés Bellido

Dr. José Carballo
Posdoctoral Fellow, CONICET
Ing. Agr. José Carballo

Lic. Cielo Pasten

Doctoral Fellow, CONICET
Lic. Cielo Pasten

Agricultural Eng. Jimena Gallardo

Doctoral Fellow, CONICET
Teaching Assistant, UNS