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Carlota Vaz Patto



Carlota Vaz Patto, PhD

Head of laboratory


(complete publication list)


Name:  Maria Carlota Morais e Cunha Vaz Patto

ITQB NOVAGenetics and Genomics of Plant Complex Traits (PlantX)

Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Apartado 127, 2781-901 Oeiras – PORTUGAL
Tel: (351) 214 469 631   Fax: (351) 214 411 277



Quantitative crop genetics.  Plant molecular breeding.  Grain quality.  Stress resistance. 

Statistical genomics.  Linkage mapping.  Genome-wide association.  Genetic diversity.

LathyrusPhaseolus,  Medicago truncatulaZea mays.


Research interests

How to harvest a “Field of Genes” with quantitative genetics

My area of research is Plant Quantitative Genetics (PQG). Quantitative genetics is a statistical branch of genetics concerned with the inheritance of traits that show continuous variation among individuals (quantitative traits). Quantitative traits differ from qualitative ones in that the individuals of a progeny cannot be classified into discrete phenotypic classes, making it impossible to use Mendelian approaches. The identification, location and effect estimation of the genes controlling these traits can be overcome through Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) analysis. The most interesting agronomic traits are normally quantitative (yield, stress resistance, quality) and, because of that, difficult to grasp by plant breeders.

My main objective is to understand the genetic basis of agronomical complex traits and develop control models, scientific methods and molecular tools to increase efficiency and speed up the selection process for plant improvement. The current focus of our research is on end-user quality (nutritional, health beneficial, organoleptic, technological processing) and resistance to biotic (fungal diseases) and abiotic (drought) stresses on plant germplasm of national interest. For this purpose, we will conjugate extensive field research, chemistry and food technology analysis, phytopathological evaluations, molecular and gene expression analysis through different statistical approaches.

This multidisciplinary and integrative task will count with the active enrolment of end-users (industry / farmers) through a participatory research approach that will promote the potential of national underused plant germplasm as sources of interesting traits and contribute indirectly to enhance its cultivation, increasing national food security and sustainability of agricultural systems.

See also news about my research in the media (in Portuguese).

Academic qualifications

2001 - PhD in Production Ecology and Resource Conservation. “The genetics and mechanism of avoidance of rust infection in Hordeum chilense”.  Plant Sciences Department, Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

1997 - Master of Science (MSc). “Use of molecular markers for localisation of agronomic valuable genes and for Vicia faba systematic”. Department of Plant Breeding and Agronomy. Centro de Investigación y Fomento Agrario (CIFA), Córdoba. International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM).

1995 - Advanced Course on Plant Breeding. Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ). Spain.

1994 - Agronomic Engineering. Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal. Majors: Plant Production, Plant Breeding.

Professional experience

Mar. 2015 - present - Investigador Principal, ITQB - Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.

Jul. 2014 - Feb. 2015 - Invited Researcher, ITQB - Universidade Nova de Lisboa - Incentivo 2014 Programme.

Jul. 2009 - Jun. 2014 - Investigador Auxiliar, ITQB - Universidade Nova de Lisboa - Programme Ciência 2008.

Oct. 2007-Jun. 2009 - Postdoc, Departamento de Agronomía y Mejora Genética Vegetal, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible-CSIC, Córdoba, Spain, and ITQB, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.

Oct. 2004-Sep. 2007 - Postdoc, Dept. of Plant Breeding and Agronomy, Centro de Investigacíon y Fomento Agrário, Córdoba, Spain, and ITQB, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.

Oct. 2001-Sep. 2004 - Postdoc, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agroambientali, Dipartimento di Agronomia, Università di Bologna, Italy, and ITQB, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.

Jan. 1997-May 2001 - PhD student, Plant Science Department. Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University and Research Centrum, The Netherlands.

1995-1997 - MSc student, Dept. of Plant Breeding and Agronomy, Centro de Investigacíon y Fomento Agrário, Córdoba. Spain.



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