To combine and introduce horticulturally important genes for disease resistance, product quality and yield parameters into new cultivars of vegetables, ornamentals, medicinal and aromatic plants, advanced plant breeding strategies are needed. Therefore, the research activities within this work area are aimed at the development and usage of established and innovative methods of plant molecular breeding research for horticultural breeding research.
In horticultural crops high demands are placed on product quality, resistance and yield components. For that reason the main focus of new basic plant material is the accelerated and targeted combination of valuable genes. Using molecular markers (marker assisted selection) the working area “Molecular markers and genome analysis” achieves a highly efficient description of genetic resources and therefore an improved selection of basis material relevant for breeding.
For this purpose established and innovative methods of plant molecular breeding research are combined. Different horticultural crops require adapted marker techniques. For identification of quantitative inherited traits QTL analyses and genetic association studies are performed. Besides the genome-wide genetic mapping of markers and genes, specific candidate genes are described, and their potential for the development of functional markers is investigated. To this, novel insights in phytopathology, resistance research, metabolome analytic, biochemistry and plant physiology are the prerequisite.
Molecular-cytogenetic research is focused on analyses of chromosome and genome organization after interspecific and intergeneric hybridisations. FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridisation) and GISH (genomic in situ hybridisation) were established and applied to specific goals.
A specific task is the research concerning the process of centromere assisted uniparental chromosome elimination. During this process the centromere of chromosomes will be disturbed, followed by a disorder of the seed-formation resulting in the elimination of one parental genome. This novel approach is a completely new way for getting doubled haploids and therefore homozygous lines. Pure parental lines have got a great significance for breeding and breeding research since their conventional production takes several years as a rule.