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 methods, and our primary objective in the Göttingen Division of Plant Breeding Methodology is to develop, improve upon, and identify the best combination of them. To understand how breeders may obtain maximum benefit from 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, high-throughput phenotyping, genotyping, sequencing, experimental evolution; we apply and develop quantitative genetics, selection theory, advanced simulation techniques, and more. Our primary crops currently being studied include cereals such as maize and sorghum, and pulses such as faba bean and pea. We constantly strive to expand our research to additional species and applications. Our theoretical and methodological research relies on utilization of evolutionary theory, probability theory, machine learning, and genomic selection/prediction. 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 for leadership roles in plant breeding in the public and private sectors.

The Division of Plant Breeding Methodology is headed by Tim Beissinger.


  • Plant Breeding Methodology (Prof. Timothy Beissinger; 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.

    Additional working groups in the division
  • Breeding Research in Faba Bean (apl. Prof. Wolfgang Link)
    Pre-Beeding and Breeding Methodology in faba bean.

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


    Former working groups in the division
  • Organic plant breeding (Dr. Bernd Horneburg)
    Now at the University Kassel-Witzenhausen.

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