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5.3 Development of new genotypes

Programme Area FUNCT
FUNCT Functional Plant Biology
Programme Area MICRO
MICRO Plant-Microbe Systems
Programme Area MICRO
BIOINF Genomics and bioinformatics in horticulture
Programme Area QUALITY
QUALITY Plant Quality and Food Security
Programme Area HORTSYS
HORTSYS Next-Generation Horticultural Systems

The breeding of horticultural crops is characterised by a high diversity of plant species and breeding traits. Moreover, breeding effort intensity differs considerably between different crops. In ornamentals, vegetative propagation and the importance of flower traits are common characteristics that define the breeding strategy. In contrast, vegetable breeding rather resembles breeding of agricultural crops, as propagation through seeds prevails and as the development of F1 hybrids dominates breeding in major crops. The concentration of breeding companies during the last decades has particularly affected vegetable breeders. These seed companies usually have extensive in-house research capacities. Hence, vegetable breeders typically have convenient access to research facilities except for (some) breeders of specialty crops and organic seed.

Cooperation Partners

Leibniz-Universität Hannover
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Institut für Pflanzenkultur
Heidepflanzen de Winkel
Julius Kühn-Institut
Kötterheinrich Hortensienkulturen

Therefore, the aim of our research area is to contribute to breeding research with an emphasis on the specific characteristics of ornamentals and specialty vegetables. Our research focuses on:

  • The analysis of flower morphology and the biology of fertilisation
  • The development of in vitro methods for the creation of new breeding material (including ploidy level changes )
  • Molecular genotype identification

We specialise in analysing flower morphology mutations in heather (Calluna vulgaris). Candidate genes have been identified through flower transcriptome sequencing. By using different methods of gene expression analysis we can determine the role these candidate genes play in the development of different flower types.

Genotype identification using molecular markers is of high interest to breeding companies. Hence, research on this topic is realised in the form of third-party funded projects that depend on the breeder’s interest.

Moreover, within the scope of our expertise described above, we strive towards expanding research co-operation to include new third-party funded Projects.

Current Project

2015 - 2018

Development of a breeding strategy for Hydrangea macrophylla including interploid crossings

In hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ssp. macrophylla), dip...

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Other Projects

Molecular genetic analysis of altered flower architecture in Calluna vulgaris

Flowers are of central significance for plants, since these organs are responsible for plant reproduction. Many plants evolved attractive structures to allur...

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Molecular characterization of the genepool and analysis of self-sterility of frost-tolerant Erica gracilis

Until the turn of the millennium, all cultivars of the economically very important landscaping plant Erica gracilis were derived from only one genot...

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Molecular characterization of polyploid Calluna vulgaris

Calluna vulgaris is one of the economically most important landscaping plants of the fall season in Germany. The genepool available for breeding is ...

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Epicactus hybrids: from a historic ornamental plant towards a modern horticultural product; subproject: genotypic fingerprinting and virus detection in Epicactus hybrids

Epicactus-hybrids arose from multiple crosses of species and hybrids among themselves, resulting in a great diversity of several...

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