“Biochar” is a carbon-rich material that blends into soils to improve fertility, mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon while improving agricultural productivity.

prof. dr. ir. Ronsse Frederik

prof. dr. Geelen Danny

New strategies for propagating elite plant material

To obtain profitable yields and high quality plant products farmers are using elite hybrid seeds or cloned material showing robust phenotypic traits. Hybrid seed production is however very costly and moreover not available for many crops. We therefore look for alternative methods to achieve the same.  One approach is to modify sexual reproduction such that it does no longer involve meiotic recombination and haploidization. This phenomenon is known as apomixes but does not occur in crops. Apomixes likely evolved from sexual reproduction, suggesting that it can be developed in crops species. We have isolated a collection of mutations that have the potential to induce apomixes.

The implementation of apomixes into crops would dramatically reduce the cost of hybrid seed production and enables the production and marketing of specialty seeds adapted to local conditions or for highly specialized applications.