Julius Kuehn-Institut Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants
The Julius Kühn Institute is the Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants in Germany and an autonomous superior federal authority in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture with 17 specialised institutes. Participating in the project is the Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops. The core competence of the Institute in Dresden is focused on:
- collection, conservation and evaluation as well as documentation of fruit genetic resources,
- breeding of top and soft fruit cultivars and rootstocks for a sustainable and environmentally friendly fruit production (in both integrated and organic crop management systems) based on the exploration of genetic resources,
- developing innovative breeding methods in order to improve the efficiency of selection and to increase the gene pool available for the breeder. Special activities at the fruit gene bank are focused on collection, preservation, characterisation and documentation of diversity in fruit species and cultivars of native fruit species and fruit species important for current and former fruit production in Central Europe as well as in related wild species and genera. The cultivars and accessions of wild species are maintained in ex situ field collections in order to preserve the integrity of the material. Building up duplicates, which are necessary to prevent losses of the material due to biotic and abiotic stress factors, is assured by other partners belonging to the decentralised network of the German Fruit Genebank. The success of fruit breeding depends on the application of molecular and biotechnology breeding methods. Marker-assisted-selection has become an essential technology. The genetic background is analysed as well as in order to select appropriate parents and to select progenies based on their genotype at an early stage of the breeding process. In addition, methodologies for assessment of infections by pathogens in order to identify donors of resistance. Diseases which may occur in Germany due to climatic changes and which may cause problems in ecological and conventional fruit production are the focus of interest. The release of new cultivars for fruit production is the main aim of fruit breeding at the JKI institute. Fruit breeding is especially focused on resistance breeding to improve health and productivity of fruit plants, and to decrease the demand on plant protection in the sense of sustainable and environmentally friendly production. In addition, important breeding aims are improvement of fruit quality for fresh market as well as high and stable cropping.
Main task in the project
JKI actively participates in work package 1 (GenRes management, definition and selection of proper plant material, field trials and phenotyping). JKI provides plant material of the fruit gene bank of the genus Fragaria (cultivars and wild species accessions) and selected breeding clones of strawberry for common experiments. JKI will be included in the trails realising phenotyping and genotyping under defined experimental conditions (work package 2 - Genomic tools for enhancing utilization of genetic resources in prebreeding and work packge 3 - Exploring diverse germplasm collections for plant resilience, fruit quality and postharvest traits). Furthermore, JKI can contribute to work package 4 (Fruit quality attributes for European berry GenRes emphasised by consumer responses) realising selected experiments in sensory evaluation of berry fruits. Finally, a consumer test could be organised. Based on the experiences JKI can support the development of harmonised (multilingual) descriptors in phenotyping including sensory properties and JKI is able to provide extensive phenotypic and genotypic data of cultivars belonging to the JKI fruit gene bank obtained in the course of various projects.