The department has long-standing experience in the field of plant in-vitro culture as well as in the fields of molecular biology and cytogenetics. The current leading topics result from plant breeding projects as well as from problems concerning ecosystem structures and development.
Studies on the molecular basis of the columnar growth habit in Apples are based on cross breeding populations supplied by the Department of Pomology. GbS/GWAS is used for the identification of candidate genes modifying the columnar growth according to the growers' demands. The application of gene transfer techniques for the functional analysis of those candidate genes includes Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer, biolistics and CRISPR/CAS9.
In close co-operation with the Department of Pomology our institute is participating in the EU research project "Goodberry", studying the molecular biological aspects of flower induction/initiation and dormancy.
In co-operation with the Department of Applied Ecology spatial-genetic analyses on shrubs are conducted in order to define autochtonous provenances for seedstocks according to the German federal conservation law (based on the Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity, 1992). Additional studies will deal with plant adaptation strategies to biotic and abiotic environments.