Breeding new crop varieties is complex, cost-intensive and time consuming. At the institute, we search for resistance properties and secondary metabolite profiles in various crop assortments in particular and cross these into pre-breeding material (link DGZ and NWG). The knowledge gained is available to interested breeders.
In many horticultural crops, the number of chromosome sets (ploidy levels) differs from each other. Therefore they are not easily crossable. For this reason, we work at the institute with polyploidization procedures and DH lines (double haploid). The successfully implementation is proven by cytological methods, including fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques and genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) analyses and FlowCytometry.
Another breeding methodological challenge is to expand genetic variability by combining traits from related wild species. To overcome crossing barriers after interspecific and intergeneric hybridization, we use the embryo rescue method to ensure embryo survival and thus crossing success. Another method is somatic portoplast fusion. Here, somatic protoplasts (plant cells without cell wall) are fused to combine genetic material. Depending on the culture species, we develop suitable systems for isolation, fusion and regeneration of these protoplasts. Both procedures are based on successful in vitro regeneration to obtain a hybrid plant. Subsequently, the regenerated plants are phenotypically and genotypically characterized to prove the transfer of the desired trait and to investigate it further.