The institute evaluates morphological, cultivation-technological, secondary metabolites and resistance characteristics of plant genetic resources in horticultural crops (see also German Genebank Ornamentals and NWG).
For this purpose, we record both external characteristics for important origins of the respective gene pool and the genetic diversity of the relevant plant species. Recent methods of phenotyping enable non-destructive and comprehensive data acquisition on the appearance of plants. Genetic markers can thus be developed for important traits that can be assigned to specific external characteristics. This provides an important basis for expanding the genetic variability of breeding material.
A prerequisite of modern plant breeding is plant material with well characterized traits (link DGZ). The material can originate from the primary (the cultivated plant species itself or species that can be crossed in without any barriers) or secondary gene pool (e.g. wild relatives that are difficult in sexual crossing). However, the inheritance of the respective traits relevant for breeding must be fully clarified as possible. The development of trait-specific phenotyping methods and genome analysis provide the basis for inheritance analyses, identification of candidate genes and the development of molecular markers.
Phytopathogenic fungi and viruses are currently the focus of investigations on resistance to biological pests. These highly complex analyses start with the detailed characterization of the respective pathogen. In further processing steps, we develop test strategies and bioassays and analyze the inheritance of possible resistances.
For medicinal and aromatic plants (link to NWG) as well as vegetables, is it essential to know how the secondary metabolites are formed in the plant and how they are composed qualitatively and quantitatively. Some of these metabolites are beneficial to health. To do this, interdisciplinary studies are being carried out for the genome characterization and secondary compound formation on pre-breeding material (initial cross-pollination of genetic resources).