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Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI)
Federal Research Centre
for Cultivated Plants

Head
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Töpfer

Address
Geilweilerhof
76833 Siebeldingen, Germany

Office
Ms Sabine Martin
Tel.: +49(0)6345/41-0
Fax: +49(0)6345/41-179
E-mail: zr@  julius-kuehn.  de

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Institute booklet

Phenotyping

The phenotype describes how the traits of a plant are expressed under a given environment. In breeding programs it is one of the most important selection criteria. So far the assessment of phenotyping traits is limited. The efficiency of grapevine breeding could be increased significantly through the application of sensor based, automated, fast and precise new phenotyping methods.

The phenotype of a vine is the sum all morphological and physiological traits such as yield or resistance against pathogens. The term phenotyping indicates the quantitative analysis of all traits. It is a key technology in plant breeding. Breeding material and genetic resources are evaluated using different descriptors for instance for the development of genetic markers (MAS).

Up to now the evaluation of phenotypic traits is mainly done by manual, visual classification. This method is very time and labour intensive and can therefore only be done on selected breeding material.

The establishment of new sensors and automated processes for data acquisition in the field, including data management and data analysis, within different cooperations, is the main task of the phenotyping working group. In this way it is possible to (1) acquire precise and objective trait data, (2) increase the sample size, (3) decrease the error variation and (4) evaluate data subsequently. It is expected to increase the efficiency of grapevine breeding and accelerate the process by several years.

Based on the completed projects CROP.SENSe.net (development of methods) and PHENO­­­­-vines (application of methods and setup of a self-propelled phenotyping platform PHENObot) the phenotyping working group consists has been in place since 2010.

The focus of the phenotyping research is on yield parameters, berry skin characteristics, Botrytis, downy and powdery mildew, abiotic stress and phenology of grapevine.