By purposeful evaluations of morphological and agronomical traits, biotic and abiotic stress resistance and metabolites, genetic resources for the extension of the genetic variability of breeding material are opened up. Both phenotypic and genotypic variations of gene pools of relevant plant species are judged. Novel approaches of phenotyping enable comprehensive data collection and a non-destructive examination of plants. In this way genetic markers for important plant features could be developed. This is a basis for the broadening of the genetic variability of breeding material.
Plant material well characterized for its traits is the essential precondition for modern plant breeding. Material could be derived from primary (i.e. crop itself or easily crossable species) or secondary gene pool (e.g. wild species, only difficult to cross). Comprehensive knowledge about inheritance of breeding-relevant traits is necessary. The development of trait specific strategies for phenotyping corresponds with fundamental studies of inheritance. This is the basis for identification of candidate genes and further for the development of molecular markers.
Investigations on pathogens are mainly designed for phytopathogenic viruses and fungi. The complex research includes detailed description of the pathogens, the development of resistance screening methods and strategies as well as the characterization of the resistance inheritance.
The qualitative and quantitative composition of secondary metabolites of vegetables, medicinal and aromatic plants is investigated predominantly as an interdisciplinary approach of the metabolome research. Pre-breeding steps such as first crosses with genetic resources are performed. Thereby on the one hand the provision of defined basic plant material is necessary. On the other hand extensive knowledge of the physiology and inheritance is essential for chemical as well as for the genome and metabolome analysis.