Our research group „Crop Functional Genomics“ is focused on the genetic dissection of maize root development and the analysis of heterosis manifestation in the young seedling root system. These analyses are performed with state of the art molecular genetics and genomics tools. Our work is based on specific mutants of root development and the cloning of the affected genes. The overall goal of our work is to identify the molecular networks involved in the formation of the maize root system. Moreover, our work aims on contributing to the understanding of the molecular basis of heterosis in the early maize root system. An in depth understanding of the molecular basis of root development is a prerequisite for the improvement of biomass and yield of cereals. Moreover, molecular diagnostics of key genes of root development will support the selection of suitable genotypes adapted to specific environments.
The „Crop Functional Genomics“ group contributes to genetic and genomic analysis of the widely neglected complex root systems of the economically important cereals. These analyses were thus far mainly performed in the model plant maize for which extensive genetic and genomic resources are available.
The strength of the group is in the field of molecular genetics and genomics. Besides the application of a wide array of molecular methods the group has extensive experience in maize genetics.
Expertise in the field of root development shall in particular contribute to improve the quality and quantity of biomass with reference to molecular parameters of root system development. These analyses will also include abiotic stress factors such as drought.