The Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben is a research centre covering a broad range of topics in plant science. Plants, and especially crop plants, are the major source for human and animal diets. They also become the basis for raw materials and renewable energy and are an integral part of the environment having as well a large impact on climate. Identifying the genetic, biochemical and physiological principles of plant development, performance and adaptation will be essential to meet demands arising from a rapidly growing world population, dwindling natural resources and climate change. These central goals will also essentially contribute to the development of a plant-based bioeconomy.
Primary focus of the Institute is research into crop plant species such as barley, wheat, maize, rapeseed and potato. In addition, fundamental questions of plant evolution, domestication, and the molecular underpinnings of plant traits are investigated in model plants. Research in four scientific departments is clustered around three topics:
Conservation, development and utilisation of plant genetic resources
Plant genome dynamics
Integrative biology of plant performance
A collection of about 151,000 different cultivars, land races and crop wild relatives from the temperate region are stored in the Federal ex situ Genebank. With about 800 different genera it is the largest genebank in Western Europe. The characterisation of plant material at various levels (genome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome) together with the use of innovative phenotyping technologies deliver knowledge and resources for developing drought tolerant or disease resistant high-yielding crop plants.
Scientists from more than 30 countries build a stimulating multidisciplinary environment. Young researchers especially benefit from the recently established Leibniz Graduate School on yield formation with lectures, technical and soft skill courses.