A Central Role for Genetics in Plant Biology

Maarten Koornneef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article describes my involvement in the development of genetics as an essential tool in the integrated study of plant biology. My research comes from a strong background in plant genetics based on my education as a plant breeder at Wageningen University and collaborations with plant physiologists and molecular geneticists in Wageningen and the wider scientific community. It initially involved the isolation and physiological characterization of mutants defective in biosynthesis or mode of action of plant hormones, photoreceptors and traits such as flowering time in both Arabidopsis and tomato. I also generated a genetic map of Arabidopsis. Subsequently, the exploitation of natural variation became a main area of interest, including the molecular identification of underlying genetic differences. The integration of various disciplines and the adoption of Arabidopsis as a main model species contributed strongly to the impressive progress in our knowledge of plant biology over the past 40 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021


  • Arabidopsis
  • autobiography
  • genetics
  • natural variation
  • photoreceptors
  • plant hormones


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