Press Releases

Like dad and like mum ... all in one plant
Researchers breed tomato plants that contain the complete genetic material of both parent plants [more]
Capturing the full spectrum of genetic diversity
A research team led by Raphaël Mercier and Korbinian Schneeberger from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne investigated the great genome diversity of the most popular research model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. A valuable toolbox to empower future genetic research. The study is now published in Nature Genetics.
Track and trace members of the plant microbiome with DNA barcodes
A research team led by Paul Schulze-Lefert developed a modular toolkit for tracking bacterial strains colonising plant tissue in competition with other microbiome members. The study is now published in Nature Microbiology.

Researchers solve mystery of how minimalist plant immune molecules become activated<br> 
A new study published in the journal Nature shows that the same phenomenon that occurs when we try to mix oil and water – phase separation – plays an important role in the immune system of plants.
How a common weed builds up explosive force<br /> 
Hairy bittercress has explosive fruit that fire seeds in all directions. MPI researchers discover how these seed pods power their own explosion. [more]
New insights in the regulation of genetic information exchange
A study, led by André Marques, identified chromosome pairing as key in the control for the distribution of genetic material. The findings will provide further insights towards new approaches in plant breeding. [more]
Timing leaf growth<br /> 

Timing leaf growth

February 07, 2024
Leaf heteroblasty is the fascinating natural phenomenon by which plants produce different leaves as they grow and mature. This requires a complex interplay between cellular growth and time, and allows a single plant to manifest a diverse range of leaf shapes and sizes over its lifespan. In a recent paper in the journal Current Biology, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne have now shed light on how this intricate process occurs during leaf development of the small mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana. By studying the development of juvenile and adult leaves, they identified key differences in their cellular growth patterns, which they found were controlled by a SPL9-CYCD3 transcriptional module. These findings provide us with a deeper understanding of how the passing of time is encoded into organ growth and morphogenesis, and demonstrate the intricate tempo of plant growth and development. [more]
A bacterial toolkit for colonizing plants<br /> 
Using a novel experimental approach, Max Planck researchers have discovered a core set of genes required by commensal bacteria to colonize their plant hosts. The findings may have broad relevance for understanding how bacteria establish successful host–commensal relationships.
Unravelling the basis of the dual role of TFL1 in reproductive development
Reproductive development in plants involves a transition from the vegetative phase during which leaves are continuously produced at the shoot apex, to the reproductive phase marked by the production of inflorescence branches and flowers. Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne have used morphological characterization coupled with protein expression patterns and gene expression profiling to investigate how a regulatory protein called TERMINAL FLOWER 1 carries out two distinct functions at the shoot apex during flowering in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana.
Immune defense as key for plants conquering land<br /> 
A new study, led by Hirofumi Nakagami at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, demonstrates that one of the two branches of plant immunity was likely to have evolved early during the establishment of plants on dry land. This insight into prehistoric plant immunity may have implications for breeding more resistant plant species.
Structural insights illuminate the arms race between crop plants and fungal pathogens<br /> 
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research shed light on how harmful fungi evade recognition by their plant hosts and aid infection.
A guide through the genome
Plants show enormous variety in traits relevant to breeding, such as plant height, yield and resistance to pests. One of the greatest challenges in modern plant research is to identify the differences in genetic information that are responsible for this variation. A research team led by the "Crop Yield" working group at the Institute for Molecular Physiology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and at Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne (MPIPZ), together with the Carnegie Institution of Science at Stanford, has now developed a method to identify precisely these special differences in genetic information. Using the example of maize, they demonstrate the great potential of their method in the journal Genome Biology and present regions in the maize genome that may help to increase yields and resistance to pests during breeding. [more]
Keeping competitors away drives colonization success in the plant microbiota
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, in Cologne, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, have identified natural chemical strategies that bacteria use to keep competitors at bay and successfully proliferate on plants. The study is now published in the journal PNAS.
Scientists provide evidence for new theory of genetic recombination<br /> 
New findings from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, suggest an explanation for the century-old mystery of how chromosome recombination is regulated during sexual reproduction. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
Structure of wheat immune protein resolved – important tool in the battle for food security
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the University of Cologne in Germany together with colleagues from China have unravelled how wheat protects itself from a deadly pathogen. Their findings, published in the journal Nature, could be harnessed to make important crop species more resistant to disease. [more]
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