Use of chromosome substitution lines in plant genetics

When a chromosome of a line is replaced by the chromosome of another line, one obtains chromosome substitution lines (CSLs). CSLs can be very powerful tools in plant genetics detect QTL or study complex traits like epistasis. We investigate the use of chromosome substitution lines in fundamental and applied research.

Chromosome substitution lines have rarely been used for plant genetics because these are difficult to produce. Through a breeding methods known as “reverse breeding” it recently became much easier to generate chromosome substitution lines in Arabidopsis.


We currently are generating different populations of chromosome substitution lines through reverse breeding.


Meiotic recombination can be modified in various ways using chemicals, cold- or heat shock, transgenes or the use of modified viruses or new ways that are published in literature. The research approaches therefore vary, but may include advanced molecular techniques.

The modification of meiotic crossover formation requires also monitoring whether the targeted meiotic process is indeed changed (i.e. do more or less crossovers form). To this end we make use of (fluorescent) microscopes to analyze the segregation of chromosomes during meiosis.

Our work into the use of mapping populations based on chromosome substitution lines focuses less on molecular or microscopic techniques, but is aimed at defining challenging research questions and answering these using chromosome substitution lines by growing, crossing and phenotyping plants.

This research combines insights from diverse scientific fields, and therefore is often interdisciplinary in nature.

Student Opportunities

We are open to applications for thesis projects! We have different thesis topics available, including projects with Molecular Techniques, Microscopy and Phenotyping.

  • Thesis Projects
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