Gene and Genome Mapping

Group Leader: [link]Dr. Marion Röder


Research Goals

The general goal is the exploitation of the natural genetic diversity in plants for identification, genetic mapping and cloning of genes for agronomically important traits in cereals. The current project phase mainly serves to establish the relationship between various agronomic traits and a new generation of molecular markers for the directed improvement of wheat varieties and the ultimate goal of identifying the causal genes for such traits.


Recent Projects

Genetics of anther extrusion in wheat

In a number of crop species hybrids are able to outperform the conventionally bred varieties. Therefore the development and production of hybrid wheat is gaining importance. The anthers of the autogamous bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plant are not or only partially extruded in many commercial varieties, a trait which is unfavourable for the production of F1 hybrid grain. Higher anther extrusion (AE) promotes cross fertilization for higher hybrid seed production. Therefore, this study aims at the genetic dissection of the trait AE by genome-wide association mapping and determination of the main effect QTL with the ultimate goal to identify the causal genes for improved AE.



Genome-wide association mapping of micronutrients in winter wheat

Wheat and wheat products, such as bread and pasta are the main source of nutrients to most of the world’s population. Wheat grains contain low amounts of minerals that are located mainly in the bran, which is removed during milling. On the other hand, there are around three billion people throughout the world affected by nutritional iron and zinc deficiencies, especially: pregnant women, children below five years and people whose diet depends mainly on cereals. Therefore, developing crop varieties with improved micronutrient contents by genetic biofortification is a strategy to overcome those problems. The work aims to explore genetic variation between wheat genotypes related to the micronutrient concentration in the grain, to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with these traits by using genome wide association study (GWAS) and to identify the candidate genes of Fe and Zn content in the grains.


Prevalence of risk of Iron deficiency in the world

Note: Prevalence of risk of Fe deficiency for children 6–59 months with hemoglobin below 110g/l.

Significance is classified as none (<5.0%). mild (≥5.0%–<20.0%). moderate (≥20.0%–<40.0%). or severe (≥40.0%)

Source: WHO: [link][link]/


Identification of candidate genes for quantitative traits in wheat

We have created ample datasets for QTL-detection in genome-wide association panels and doubled-haploid populations of wheat yielding a number of very significant QTL for various traits including agronomic traits, spike morphology, anther extrusion, grain mineral contents and disease resistances.

The future goal will be to validate QTL, to apply the further improved ge­nomic tools (i.e. the genomic wheat reference sequence) for the identification of candidate genes underlying the traits of interest. The challenge will be to verify the identified candidate genes by re-sequencing strategies, tilling and genome editing approaches.

Testplots of winter wheat in the field