A dialogue on interdisciplinary collaboration to bridge the gap between plant genomics and crop sciences

P.C. Struik, K.G. Cassman, M. Koornneef

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the future, more food needs to be produced with increasingly scarce natural resources. Genomics can play a key role in accelerating yield gains because it helps to improve our understanding ofgenetic traits and assists in breeding for better crop performance. The scientific muscle of genomicsattracted tremendous research investments, but the efficiency with which these investments are paying offis still low. How can we accelerate the application of molecular genetics to our understanding of crop physiology and subsequently to crop improvement? The missing link is a more detailed understanding of the effects of gene function on crop performance at field level under agronomically relevant conditions captured in robust, physiology-based mechanistic models. With such models the most sensitive processes and mechanisms at whole-crop level that contribute to improved crop performance can be identified. To achieve the detailed understanding necessary to build and feed these models, more research on wholeplant physiology and crop ecology is required, with a focus on the complexity of scaling up knowledge from the molecular level to the farmers¿ fields and production systems. Such studies assess how the plant is able to integrate the information at different levels of organization into the functioning of the whole plant and predicting the phenotype of transgenic plants engineered for improvement of a complex trait. More investment is needed in linking whole-plant physiology, crop ecology and crop simulation with molecular biology and genomics. Moreover, long-term progress can be enhanced by the formation of multidisciplinary teams that operate through networks of excellence in developing quantitative tools that integrate complex information and different levels of organization and by the exchange of young scientists between research groups working at different hierarchical levels. On the short term improvement of the characterization of experimental environments (preferably through commonly shared protocols) and of the characterization of parents for creating mapping populations is needed
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Frontis Workshop on Scale and complexity in plant systems research: gene-plant-crop relations, Wageningen, The Netherlands, April 23-26, 2006
EditorsJ.H.J. Spiertz, P.C. Struik, H.H. Van Laar
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages329
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameWageningen UR Frontis Series

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A dialogue on interdisciplinary collaboration to bridge the gap between plant genomics and crop sciences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this