Roots are a key to drought-tolerant maize

Maize can grow successfully in very different local conditions. An international study headed by the University of Bonn has now demonstrated the important role of the plant root system. The researchers analyzed more than 9,000 varieties in the study and were able to show that their roots varied considerably – depending on how dry the location is where each variety was cultivated. They were also able to identify an important gene that plays a role in the plant’s ability to adapt. This gene could be the key to developing varieties of maize that cope better with climate change. The results were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

Our 2024 maize seeds are in the ground!

Thanks to the good weather, we were able to plant our maize field at the University of Bonn's experimental station on May 2, 2024.

Congratulations to Danning Wang for the successful completion of her PhD

Danning worked in her project on genetic basis and environmental regulation of root-microbiome associations in maize.

Maize genes control little helpers in the soil

Tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi help to promote the health and function of plant roots. It is commonly assumed that the composition of these microbes is dependent on the properties of the soil. However, an international team of researchers led by the University of Bonn has now discovered when studying different local varieties of maize that the genetic makeup of the plants also helps to influence which microorganisms cluster around the roots. The results, which have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants, could help to breed future varieties of maize that are better suited to drought and limited nutrients.

Prof. Alexander Lipka | Talk

Prof. Alexander Lipka from the University of Illinois will give a talk with the title “Lipka Lab: addressing key challenges of crop sciences through quantitative genetics”.

Prof. Hans Lambers | Talk

Prof. Hans Lambers from University of Western Australia, Honorary Professor, China Agricultural University on "Carboxylate-releasing phosphorus-mobilising strategies are pervasive in phosphorus-impoverished landscapes". Please find his classical and pioneering work on root ecology and root function (https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/persons/hans-lambers).

We are proud to announce the fantastic experience with our field trial in Madagascar!

With an joint effort, we harvested over 1500 rhizosphere samples within two days! We are now curious about what microbes do such soil contain and what functions do they play in such poor soil.

Prof. Zhongtao Jia | Talk

Prof. Zhongtao Jia from China Agricultural University (CAU) on "Hormonal regulation of root nitrogen foraging responses in plants". Prof. Jia did his postdoc with Prof. Nicolaus von Wirén in Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK Gatersleben, Germany). He is mainly interested on molecular mechanisms underlying nitrogen signaling on root development. His research topics include the identification of molecular regulators and genetic allelic variants determining nutrient use efficiency in the aspect of root development and nutrient acquisition.

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