However, grafting can also have negative repercussions on the plant, particularly related to quality characteristics of the harvestable product. So far, the control mechanisms of metabolism, growth and developmental processes underlying rootstock adaption to different soil environments and rootstock-conferred modifications of scion phenotypes are not well enough understood to leverage its full potential for a more sustainable horticulture.
Therefore, our work focuses on the discovery of mechanisms underlying the tolerance to different stresses, in particular low temperature. Second, we seek to understand the mechanisms of how grafting affects the quality characteristics of the harvested fruit. This will on the one hand enable a more informed selection of root stock/scion combinations in order to minimize the negative effects of grafting on quality. On the other hand, we hope that understanding the adaptive responses of grafted plants to low temperature will expand the palette of plant species where this technology can be applied to mitigate low temperature stress. We mainly use tomato (Solanum spp.) as an important horticultural crop and as a model plant since genome information for domesticated and wild tomato species is accessible and a large array of induced and natural genetic variation is available.