of research groups
Prof. Thomas Altmann (Dept. Head)
Dr. Evgeny Gladilin
Dr. Helmut Bäumlein
Dr. Ljudmilla Borisjuk
Assimilate Allocation and NMR
Prof. Dr. Udo Conrad
Dr. Andrea Bräutigam
Dr. Hans Weber
Department of Molecular Genetics
The greater topic of the research performed in the department Molecular Genetics headed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Altmann is the analysis and modulation of plant performance addressing yield-related physiological processes in the context of certain developmental processes. The work is thus predominantly assigned to the IPK research topic “integrative biology of plant performance” with aspects of investigating plant genetic diversity receiving increasing attention.
The research program of the department covers detailed investigation of vegetative growth / biomass production and heterosis (enhanced performance of crossbreads over their parental inbreads) as well as generative processes such as germ cell formation, seed development and physiology, and seed yield. A major goal of the work is the elucidation of the regulation of central developmental and metabolic processes addressing in particular the roles of transcription factors and metabolites, of phytohormones, and of novel / complex signals. The research program is characterised by integration of work directed towards the elucidation of basic biological processes and phenomena, the development and application of novel methods and approaches, and biotechnological, application-oriented research. Preferred objects for the studies are cereals (barley, wheat, maize), legumes (Vicia, pea), rapeseed, Arabidopsis, and tobacco. In special projects further species are investigated.
The nine research groups of the department address the following topics:
- Basic research on molecular biology and metabolic physiology of plant developmental processes:
Analysis of genetic causes and molecular mechanisms of variation in development and in metabolic performance under optimal and suboptimal environmental conditions with respect to vegetative growth, biomass accumulation and heterosis, gamete development, early embryogenesis, and apomixis, as well as seed development and storage compound accumulation in cereals and legumes, in oil-storing species (esp. rapeseed), and under drought stress.
- Biotechnological, application-oriented research:
Production of novel products for pharmaceutical or industrial applications in plants („Phyto-F(Ph)arming“), development of procedures for efficient production of hybrid seeds (hybrid technologies), and increase of yield, yield stability, and quality of seeds and their constituents.
- Development and application of bioinformatic procedures:
Integrative bioinformatics and network analysis (data representation and integration, visualisation and exploration, analysis and simulation), DNA motif identification, RNA- and protein-expression data analysis, and image analysis for automated phenotyping.
- Experimental resource-, technology-, and method-development (e.g. microsampling and analysis, NMR-based localisation and quantification of content substances, GC-MS and LC-MS-based metabolite analytics, microsensorics, immunological techniques, nucleic acids analytics and next generation sequencing, automated non-invasive phenotyping).
Central goal of the research is to gain a deeper understanding of the control and the regulation of plant growth and development with respect to vegetative and generative performance by using an integrative and systems-oriented approach and to transfer results of basic research into application oriented investigations.