Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schnurbusch
HEISENBERG-Professor (Full) for Developmental
Genetics of Crop Plants
Independent Research Group Leader Plant Architecture
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
Corrensstr. 3, OT Gatersleben06466 SeelandGermany
International Crop Ideotype Consortium
AGRICULTURE is essentially the cultivation of genetically homogenous crop plants as a community, where lowered competitiveness or even cooperative behavior is favored over competition, providing higher community yields. Customization of crop plants with balanced community performance based on target environment(s) is still a goal. Undoubtedly, crop domestication and breeding considerably increased productivity over centuries, but unconsciously lowered ‘selfish-plant behavior’ or individual plant-fitness. Paradoxically, enhancing individual plant-fitness is mistakenly equated with crop improvement. Because, agriculture relies on community performance, embracing an “Agroecological Genetics and Genomics” viewpoint might maximize communal yield by matching crop-genotypes to target environments.
Agroecological Genetics and Genomics involves combining genetic principles with evolution and ecology for balancing the exterior and interior plant architectural traits, and likewise, to better address fitness-versus-yield tradeoffs. Clearly, multi-disciplinary research efforts integrating the recent advances in plant biology, ecology and evolution, genetics and breeding, systems and synthetic biology, genome engineering, crop modelling and simulations, remote sensing and allied domains are urgently required to achieve this long-term goal.
In this context, the “International Crop Ideotype Consortium (IC2)” aims to promote the spirit of “Open Science” by acting as a platform for sharing ideas/data/technical advances for accelerating research in the ideal plant architecture arena by pursuing an “Agroecological genetics and genomics” approach.
Clarifying the trade-offs of Exterior and Interior traits is a priority. The illustration depicts the major traits for high-planting density and was partly developed using BioRender (https://biorender.com/)