Department of Genebank
The Gene bank department is the home of the Federal ex situ Gene Bank for Agricultural and Horticultural Crop Species. It is one of the world’s leading institutions of its kind. Its mandate covers the conservation of its germplasm collection and the supply of seed for both research and breeding purposes. The gene bank is to be expanded to form a digital biological resource centre through the development of a digital database which, with the supported of bioinformatics will capture both genetic and trait-based data.
The department’s research activities have been divided into three units, which aim to further optimize conservation procedures and to enhance the utilization of the gene bank's plant genetic resources:
The research carried out in the area Taxonomy and Evolution concentrates on speciation and the clarification of relationships within selected plant genera. The major focus is on the leading crop species barley and wheat; within the past years these studies have generated a number of important insights into their evolution.
The programme Characterization and Documentation is devoted to the development and management of the databases used to store gene bank data. In order to improve the accessibility of the information acquired from a portion of the collection, a particular focus has been placed on the analysis of genetic structure and the identification of agronomically important genes.
The research carried out under the theme Management and Evaluation seeks to improve how the collection is managed. Its priorities are to expand the cryo-collection and to develop analogous methods for selected species such as the potato, to characterize the genetic diversity of the collections and to research seed longevity.