Research Training Network 2064 - Graduiertenkolleg GRK2064

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Scientific Topics

Our hypothesis is that a combination of evolutionary conserved and species-specific strategies contribute to drought tolerance. We will focus on the model plant Arabidopsis in combination with barley, one of the four globally most important cereals. The goal of our research is to identify factors which improve drought tolerance and can be transferred to barley to be exploited by targeted breeding. The University of Bonn offers a unique location to establish a drought stress research network in Germany, bringing together a powerful triad of leading plant scientists from biology, the agricultural faculty and the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne.


 Research Projects


Water deficiency is one of the major threats to agricultural production worldwide and climate models predict increasing pressure on agriculture as a result of drought. This makes understanding how plants can use water efficiently a prime scientific challenge.

Identifying strategies to improve drought tolerance is difficult, because of its complexity as a quantitative trait involving multiple pathways. Many genetic, biochemical and physiological drought responses have been discovered using the plant model Arabidopsis. Yet, only sketchy knowledge is available about

(i) the effect of drought on the regulation of primary metabolism,

(ii) the molecular mechanisms through which genes contribute to drought tolerance, and

(iii) how findings from studies in Arabidopsis can be translated to crops.

This research consortium aims at the analyses of genes through transcriptomic approaches and of metabolites in plant drought responses. Target molecules to be studied in 10 different research projects include proline, suberin, reactive oxygen species, aldehydes, antioxidants (tocopherol) and detoxyfying enzymes (glutathione peroxidases, aldehyde dehydrogenases). 



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