Division of Plant Breeding Methodology

Plant Breeding brings together Evolution, Agriculture, Genetics, Statistics, Computer Programming, Genomics, Data Science. A plant breeder's toolbox encompasses a wide spectrum of biological, statistical, and computational approaches, and our primary objective is thus to develop and improve Plant Breeding Methodology. We ask about the ‘how’ in pre-breeding, in recurrent selection, in cultivar development. To understand how breeders may best employ genetic resources, we develop and maintain specific panels of genotypes, conduct experiments that leverage field and greenhouse crossing, multi-environment and multi-continent field trials. We work with high-throughput phenotyping and genotyping data, with sequencing, experimental evolution; we apply and develop quantitative genetics, selection theory, simulation techniques and more. Our primary crops currently being studied include cereals such as maize and pulses such as faba bean. In our research projects we cooperate around the world with plant breeders, geneticists, and theoreticians representing universities, private industry, and non-profit organizations. Through teaching, our division provides a platform to students to explore the complexities and challenges of plant breeding and helps them to be educated and trained as the next generation of scientists in plant breeding in the public and private sectors.

The Division of Plant Breeding Methodology is currently headed by Antje Schierholt, she serves as Administrative Officer for the Division of Plant Breeding Methodology. For matters of day-to-day business, contact the Division Assistant Sekretariat Zuchtmethodik.

Working groups in the Division

  • Plant Breeding Methodology
    Dr. Antje Schierholt; Administrative Officer Division of Plant Breeding Methodology

  • Plant Breeding Methodology (until Feb. 2023 this was the group of Timothy Beissinger as Head of Division)
    Plant Quantitative and Population Genetics. To better understand plants' evolution and to exploit such novel insight for current and future genetic improvement.

  • Breeding Research in Faba Bean (apl. Prof. Wolfgang Link)
    Pre-Breeding and Breeding Methodology in faba bean.

  • Genome Analysis and Application of Markers (PD Dr. Wolfgang Ecke; in retirement since end of 2022).
    Application of Molecular Markers for Genome Analysis (Synteny, LD) and genetic analysis of quantitative traits in rapeseed and faba bean.

  • Breeding Methodology in Maize and Rapeseed (Prof. Heiko Becker)
    In October 2018, Prof. Becker went into retirement.