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Sustainable Plant Production

Key technologies for breeding and functional genome research

Sustainable food security and increasing availability of plant biomass for human nutrition and bioindustries is the key challenge for the coming decades. The analysis of crop performance with respect to structure, function, quality and interaction with the environment remains the bottleneck for the exploitation of crop genetic diversity required for the enhancement of plant productivity and progress in plant breeding.

Phenotyping means the quantitative analysis of plant structures and functions. Quantitative knowledge of structure and function enables the transfer of basic research findings to practical agriculture and ecological research.

The functional plant body (PHENOTYPE) is formed during plant growth and development from the dynamic interaction between the genetic background (GENOTYPE) and the physical world in which plants develop (ENVIRONMENT). These interactions determine plant performance and productivity measured as accumulated biomass and commercial yield and resource use efficiency.

Thus, improvement in plant phenotyping, pioneered by the IBG-2, is a key factor for success in modern breeding as well as for advancement in basic plant research This requires substantial and concerted action to integrate plant phenotyping community in national and international networks and to increase the capacity and availability of phenotyping infrastructures.