Plant molecular genetics and biotechnology
Research in the Laboratory of Plant Genetics concerns basic plant molecular genetics as well as applied research relevant to the plant biotechnology and agricultural sector. The research is focused on the following themes:
• Amino acid metabolism in plants and its regulation. Knowledge in this field is applied in new strategies to enhance the content of essential amino acids in food and feed crops and thus to enhance the nutritional value of these crops. Potato and sorghum varieties with substantially enhanced levels of the essential amino acid lysine have for instance been obtained. Crops with higher levels of essential amino acids reduce the need for additives in animal feed and lower the environmental pollution caused by animal production.
• Metabolic adaptation of plants to biotic and abiotic stress, with the long-term objective to create plant varieties with enhanced tolerance to these stress factors and thus a reduced requirement for chemical inputs.
• DNA repair and recombination mechanisms and methods to influence these processes. This may lead to development of improved plant breeding technology, methods for precise engineering of the genome and new techniques for functional analysis of genes.
• Molecular farming: the production of valuable proteins, including vaccines, in plant seeds.