Bioscience: designing plants that meet the resource needs of society.
Relevance of our research
Crop production, fishing, mining and extraction of fossil carbon are the four primary industry activities supporting our economy. Nearly all natural resources we exploit today are based on past or present production by plants or photosynthetic organisms. Because of a growing world population, changing consumption patterns and diminishing fossil resources, the need for plant based products and materials will continue to increase. Other trends, such as climate change and diminishing availability of land and water will put an even larger emphasis on the need to continuously improve crop production.
The driver behind our research
The mission of the Business Unit Bioscience is to understand genomic and metabolic processes of plants, and to develop genome tools which will assist the development of crop plants that meet the growing resource needs of our society. Like mining industries develop technologies to exploit underground resources, we are developing tools that allow to tap on barely revealed genetic resources. There is still sufficient genetic potential available to design plants that are better thriving under optimal and suboptimal conditions. So far genetic and metabolic variation has still not fully been explored, even for crops that have been cultivated for ages. Using our genomics tools and our knowledge of metabolic and physiological processes we are tapping on the hidden genetic potential of plants. This knowledge enables us to design better plants that thrive better and generate more value.
Focus of our research?
Our research is focussed on:
- acquiring insight into the organisation of plant genomes, with a focus on tomato genomes
- understand regulation of flower, fruit, seed and meristem development, with a focus on tomato and Arabidopsis
- Understand metabolic processes of plant cells, with a focus on terpenoid, flavonoid and glycosylation pathways
Highly advanced facilities to meet our research needs
The business unit Bioscience is very well equipped to facilitate research into the complex genetic and metabolic networks of plants. We are operating highly advanced facilities for DNA sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, receptomics and microscopy. Furthermore, we host a Bioinformatics group for analysing extensive datasets. To maximize the added value of our research efforts we link them to technical and biological fields of expertise of others e.g., statistical genetics, plant physiology and organic chemistry. Several of the advanced facilities we use are part of Shared Research Facilities, the virtual centre for facility sharing of Wageningen Universtiy & Research.