Key technologies for breeding and functional genome research
Phenotyping means the quantitative analysis of plant structures and functions. Quantitative knowledge of structure and function enables the transfer of basic research findings to practical agriculture and ecological research.
Plant biology has been dominated by molecular biology and genome research for the last two decades. There is an increasing international acceptance for quantitative analyses of plant structure and function which play a key role in plant biology. Phenotyping currently is the prime bottleneck to gain knowledge in functional genome research.
Phenotyping: development and application
The Jülich Plant Phenotyping Centre (JPPC) has a unique infrastructure especially for non-invasive methods in quantifying plant properties. JPPC has competence in the development of novel measuring methods and long-term experience in applied plant phenotyping. It takes an internationally leading role in characterising crop and model plants in the context of basic research and ecology alike.
In the national competence clusters in agronomic research initiated by BMBF (German ministry for Research), IBG-2: Plant Sciences is a major partner in the synergistic competence network Crop.SENSe.net. This network relates to the conceptual preparatory work of JPPC.
JPPC has developed a concept for a German plant phenotyping network (Deutsches Pflanzen Phänotypisierungs Netzwerk, DPPN) in close cooperation with federal research institutes and universities, which is supported by industry and breeders. DPPN is a cornerstone of the future federal plant science strategy.
JPPC coordinates the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN), in which relevant phenotyping institutions world-wide organise their networking activities. To date, Germany and Europe together with Australia have a strong lead position in plant phenotyping research.
The EPPN project aims to develop a pan-European community focused on plant phenotyping, and organized around the EPPN phenotyping facilities. To achieve this goal, communication, networking and education will be advanced to attract existing and newly developing phenotyping platforms, users from academy and industry, developers and other leading phenotyping centers.
MRI-PET-Centre for plant research
JPPC installed in 2009 the first MRI-PET centre for plants word-wide. This facility is based on the unique infrastructure of the centre for imaging NMR (eco-NMR) and IBG-2's long-term expertise in the analysis of carbon transport in plants via short-lived isotopes. PLANTIS, the positron-emission tomography system for plants developed in Jülich is another feature integrated in the MRI-PET centre.