Genome design: ploidisation and interspecies crosses
Currently we are studying the genetic and environmental factors
that influence the production of unreduced microspores. Strategies
are being developed that have potential to increase 2n pollen production.
This is of interest to breeders who use dihaploid technology or
reverse mapping technology to improve or speed up their programs.
Theme 2: Plant micropropagation
Many if not all plants can be propagated using in vitro technology.
However, some species are more recalcitrant and conditions are far
from optimal to be applied in an economic viable fashion. For instance,
we are developing methods based on direct somatic embryogenesis
that allow a high multiplication of genetically stable plantlets
of recalcitrant woody species.
Theme 3: In vitro tissue culture
technology: a platform for plant chemical production.
Several strategies are being deployed to break the regulatory
systems that often hamper increased production of particular compounds
in plants. These include the modification of media composition and
growth conditions, the genetic engineering of biosynthetic pathways
via overexpression and gene silencing, and the generation of hybrid
lines with improved production capacity.
Theme 4: Cryopreservation and conservation
of genetic pools
The cryopreservation technology involves the controlled cooling
of in vitro cultures and storage in liquid nitrogen. The optimal
conditions required for the regeneration of the frozen material
are determined for a number of plants with medicinal potential.
Additional themes and more details can be found at www.plantproduction.ugent.be.