The main focus is the development of breeding strategies to stabilize high yields and to enhance the product quality. Furthermore, relevant topics of the breeding research are chosen in context of the particular crop to increase the resistance to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Latest findings of genome and metabolome research contribute to improvement of conventional methods of plant breeding for the respective horticultural crops.
Issues of plant breeding research in selected horticultural plant species will be processed. Depending on priority various questions are in focus. For instance resistance against plant pathogens and abiotic stress factors should be enhanced. It is also important to optimise the quality-determining and health-promoting or pharmaceutical relevant substances in plants.
Different approaches can ensure the future of plant breeding, using the existing genetic variability within the primary or secondary gene pool or by increasing new variability (e.g. induction of mutations). Intra- and interspecific as well as intergeneric hybridisation are useful tools for broadening the genetic variability. For this purpose adapted hybridisation techniques and in vitro culture methods are available.
Currently, the working area is focused on the elaboration of hybrid breeding strategies to improve the productivity and quality of cultivars by heterosis. Investigations are undertaken to develop systems of controlled pollination (male sterility, overcoming self-incompatibility), for characterization of inbreeding and heterosis effects as well as for combining ability. Breeding progress will be documented on the molecular level.