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Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI)
Federal Research Centre
for Cultivated Plants

Dr. Peter Wehling

Groß Lüsewitz
Rudolf-Schick-Platz 3a
18190 Sanitz, Germany

Ms Annett Sitte
Tel: +49(0)38209 45-200
Fax: +49(0)38209 45-222
E-mail: zl@  jki.bund.  de

Erwin-Baur-Str. 27
06484 Quedlinburg, Germany

+49(0)3946 47-701/-702/-704/-530
Fax: +49(0)3946 47-255
E-mail: zl@  jki.bund.  de

Institute booklet

SMART Breeding

Tracking a gene variant just by its expressed trait may prove quite laborious, time-consuming, and also imprecise.

Sometimes, indirect approaches may serve as an alternative for tracking gene variants. These approaches encompass molecular, physiological and/or biophysical methods. Whilst physiological and biophysical methods such as infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) provide information on the trait per se, molecular markers are able to depict the trait’s variation at the genetic level.

Molecular markers represent parts of DNA tightly linked to the gene variant of interest and, thus, tend to be transmitted conjointly with the gene-of-interest to the succeeding generation. Molecular markers can efficiently be checked via PCR methods in the lab, without the need to assess the manifestation of the respective trait. These and other methods of plant genomics allow for quick and accurate tracking of interesting gene variants along the breeding process. As part of our breeding research, we develop and apply so-called SMART Breeding (Selection with Markers and Advanced Reproductive Technologies) strategies for tapping the genetic diversity hold by plant genetic resources.