Photo of Julieta Cabello

Biotechnology & medicine

Julieta Cabello

She has created transgenic plants resistant to frost, drought and salinity

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"Within four decades the world population will surpass 12 billion people and the FAO estimates that food production will need to have increased by 70% to meet demands. However, due to the effects of climate change much of today´s fertile lands will have been rendered useless, and the quantity and quality of available water will probably have decreased rather than increased.

In this context genetically modified crops, capable of adapting to drier, saltier soils and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, are emerging as an alternative to supply our ever-growing population.

This young researcher, a Biotechnology graduate from the Biochemistry and Biological Sciences School at the National University of Litoral, has identified a gene present in sunflowers which could be used to grow sturdy plants, resistant to low temperatures, salinity or lack of water which would also be highly productive.

This sunflower gene could lead to the production of seeds for plants like soybean, wheat, corn and other plants of agronomic interest. It has also been discovered that HaHB1 is not only more resistant, but even after having suffered drought and lived in soils with high salinity, these genetically modified plants produce a larger amount of seeds than both unmodified plants and other transgenic plants programmed to be resilient.

Scientific magazines Plant Journal and Plant Biotechnology Journal have published the findings of this young Argentinean woman. Julieta Cabello is also the author of two international patents regarding the processes for enhancing the expression of these genes, licensed to several multinationals so that they can be marketed."