Genomics of nutritional and developmental traits in Brassica

Through crossbreeding, new cabbage varieties are being developed that contain higher concentrations of the healthy components that are naturally found in the species. At the same time the amounts of harmful components are being reduced.

The Institute for Vegetables and Fruit of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IVF-CAAS) has produced many plant varieties, of which several have been introduced to the market. This huge pool of genetic material is also very useful to Wageningen researchers. Combining strengths means that scientists have access to more facilities and a bigger pool of expertise. Some tests are better performed in Beijing, while others can be done in Wageningen. Networks are being built due to the interactions and exchanges that take place between Chinese and Dutch researchers.

For two decades Wageningen UR and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have been working together in plant breeding research. New varieties of tomatoes (e.g more salt tolerant or resistant to pathogens) have been developed by CAAS based on this research. The two institutions have also worked together on sequencing the potato, tomato and Brassica rapa genomes.

Many Dutch plant breeding companies now have business contacts with Chinese colleagues that spent a few years as MSc, PhD or post doctoral students at Plant Breeding in the Netherlands.