The IPK is one of the world's leading international institutions in the field of plant genetics and crop science and holds the Federal ex situ Gene Bank for Agricultural and Horticultural Crop Species, the largest in the EU27. IPKs research programme and services contribute to conserving, exploring and exploiting plant genetic resources.
Its research goals are driven by the need to ensure an efficient and sustainable supply of food, energy and raw materials, thereby addressing a major global ecological challenge of sustainable agriculture under the aggravating conditions of climate change. The work in the four scientific departments is focused on revealing the underlying principles of evolution, development and adaptation in major crop plants. On this basis, it seeks innovative solutions in the fields of scientifically-based crop plant germplasm conservation and exploitation, aiming to improve resource use efficiency and enhance the sustainability of plant-based production. The Federal ex situ genebank possesses a unique collection of plant genetic resources with approximately 151,000 accessions. An advanced genebank information system provides modern data management and connectivity to international systems and databases.
The Institute is hosting the European Search Catalogue for Plant Genetic Resources (EURISCO) on behalf of Bioversity International. IPK has further evolved as one of the centers of modern plant phenotyping, being member of national and international phenotyping networks, operating non-invasive systems for precision phenotyping from cell and organ level to whole plant and population level.
Moreover, the institute has an efficient and very well networked bioinformatics department.
Role within INCREASE
IPK is leading two work packages within INCREASE, work package 2 (Database establishment and data Integration) and work package 6 (Germplasm management) and is substantially involved in work package 3 (Core collections), work package 4 (Sequence analysis and phenotyping) and work package 5 (Data analysis and knowledge exploitation).
Regarding work package 2, IPK will establish a central data infrastructure for the project and coordinate the collection, curation and dissemination of the data. Furthermore, it will contribute to the development of the web portal and the applications that will be developed to enable external users to make informed selections of suitable germplasm. IPKs genetic resources of the four legume crops conserved in the ex situ genebank will contribute to work package 3 establishing the R-core collections. Further, IPK will carry out the phenotypic characterisation of chickpea T-Core lines in work package 4. Here, the drought tolerance will be scrutinised using a high-end non-invasive automated phenotyping system. Data from this precision phenotyping will undergo genetic analysis in work package 5 for allele discovery. Moreover, in the same work package, IPK will exploit, harmonise and use existing “historic” phenotypic information available from the multiplication of INCREASE germplasm for genetic analysis with very high genetic resolution.
Leading work package 6, IPK will develop new guidelines for germplasm and data management build on results of all other work packages and on detailed surveys of current practices in combination with a harmonised approach for the multiplication of genetic resources.