Plant Genetics and Epigenetics

Plants developed gradually experienced genetic and epigenetic controlling systems to respond rapidly to unfavourable environmental conditions such as heat, cold, drought, and pathogen infections. In particular, heat greatly affects plant growth and development, immunity and circadian rhythm, and poses a serious threat to the global food supply. Transgenes appear to be particularly sensitive to epigenetic variation which can lead to transgene silencing, i.e. the complete or partial inactivation of transgene expression. Plants are ideal model systems to study the influence of changing environmental conditions on epigenetic patterns. We are especially interested to understand how certain genomic regions become targets for epigenetic modification and how environmental stress affects epigenetic gene regulation. Our applied work investigates how transgene silencing can be prevented and how epigenetic variation can be exploited for novel breeding strategies

  • Epigenetics and DNA methylation studies
  • Disease and stress resistance
  • miRNA and RNA analysis
  • Plant breeding methods
  • Pathogen detection and analysis