Research Interest

© Leibniz Institut (IPK)
Fig. 1: Geographic origin and population structure of a mapping population consisting of 2rowed (a) and 6rowed (b) barley landraces (Pasam et al. 2014).

Head: Prof. Andreas Graner

Our ability to leverage the genetic diversity maintained in ex situ collections is strongly dependent on the knowledge about genes that underlie the expression of phenotypic traits. Therefore, the overriding goal of the research group is the development of biological resources, molecular tools and strategies facilitating an improved conservation  utilization of plant genetic resources. Research activities focus mainly on barley (Hordeum vulgare),  wheat  (Triticum aestivum) and Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). DNA marker analysis and sequencing  are being employed for the quantification of genetic variability and its relation to phenotypic variability. The corresponding data are being used for the development of core collections and populations to be used for association mapping (Fig. 1, 2). Moreover, fingerprinting data are evaluated to assess the genetic integrity of genebank accessions to develop a DNA marker based quality management of selected collections. Our research follows two main threads, improvement of the collection management and genetics of biomass accumulation, both of which contribute to IPK research theme Strategies for the Valorization of Genetic Resources.

Scientists of the research group are teaching at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Improvement of collection management

Resources required for the conservation management can be optimized by eliminating duplicated accessions from the collection. Molecular markers provide powerful analytical tool to address this issue. However, adequate criteria are needed for decision making. These include to combination information from various additional sources such as Passport data, reference samples and trait related data. Based on the analysis of subsamples of the genebank collections of barley and garden bean  the extent of duplicated samples will be estimated and guidelines for both consolidation and enhancement of the collections will be developed.  


Genetics of biomass accumulation

Customized core collections of spring barley representing a broad spectrum of phenotypic and adaptive diversity have been developed as a resource for linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping. In addition to morphological traits that are based on major genes, the analysis of quantitatively inherited traits affecting yield and quality components are investigated.  Biomass is of major interest as the formation of sufficient amounts of assimilates in source tissue represents a precondition to increase grain yield. Based on the analysis of imaging data, the temporal pattern of biomass accumulation is scrutinized both under stress and control conditions to uncover the genetic architecture of biomass formation, the interplay of QTLs and to identify genes underling this process (Fig. 3).