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Genetic Technologies

Junior Research Group

The "Genetic Technologies" Group is an independent junior research group at the Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics within the project "TreeEdit", funded by the Agency of Renewable Resources ("Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe", FNR).

We are studying CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome editing of trees, in particular whether and how these methods work in woody plants and what potentials and risks are associated with them. Thus, we are expanding the knowledge regarding these technologies in tree species, which is often based on results from crop research.

In addition to this method development, the Genetic Technologies Group also conducts research in the field of climate adaptation. Poplars serve us as model organisms on which the genetic background of drought stress tolerance is investigated. By experimentally modifying the genes involved, we aim to draw conclusions about their function. The results will be transferred to the most important German deciduous tree species, the European beech Fagus sylvatica.

In a subproject, we are investigating the gene expression of European beech of different provenances under drought stress. With this, we hope to obtain insights into the natural stress response of European beech and which differences exist between Central and Southern European beech. With our partners we combine genetic, molecular and physiological analyses.

People

Dr. Tobias Brügmann (group leader)
Alexander Fendel (PhD student)
Virginia Zahn (PhD student)
Alice-Jeannine Sievers (scientific assistant)
Susanne Jelkmann (technical assistant)

Keelin Meyer (Bachelor student, since October 2022)
Alina Fomin (Bachelor student, since November 2022)
Franziska Brunozzi (student trainee, since January 2023)
Johanna Kaufmann (technician trainee, since January 2023)


Study, Training & Guest Scientists

Bachelor's and master's theses as well as university internships can be carried out in our laboratory. Furthermore, we participate in the training of biological-technical assistants. The trainees are integrated into our research activities in four-month blocks. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Tobias Brügmann.

Caroline Schmidt (2022): Technician trainee

Prof. Dr. Stefano Biricolti (2022): Guest scientist from Florence/Italy

Thalia von Nethen (2022): Bachelor student, course Biotechnology, Hochschule Emden-Leer
Bachelor thesis: Promotor-Tests in Nicotiana benthamiana zur Optimierung der Effizienz von CRISPR/Cas-vermittelter Genomeditierung
[Promoter assays in Nicotiana benthamiana to optimize the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome editing]

Rose Becker (2022): Technician trainee

Stefan Zebbedies (2021): Bachelor student, course Renewable Resources, Hochschule Hannover
Bachelor thesis: Etablierung der Nickase-Genomeditierung in Pappeln
[Establishing the nickase-mediated genome editing in poplars]

Oliver Sulkowski (2020) Bachelor student, course Biotechnology, Hochschule Emden-Leer
Bachelor thesis: Molekularbiologische Untersuchung auf erhöhte Salz- und Trockenstresstoleranz in SCL4- und SCL7-überexprimierenden Pappelhybriden (Populus × canescens)
[Analysis of salt and drought stress tolerance in SCL4 and SCL7 overexpression poplar hybrids]
 


Partners

The Genetic Technologies Group interacts with scientists from several research institutions. These are in particular:

  • Genome Research, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics (PD Dr. M. Fladung)
  • Resistance Research, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics (Dr. B. Bubner)
  • Instytut Dendrologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Kornik, Poland (Prof. P. Chmielarz)
  • Istituto Biometeorologia IBIMET-CNR, Bologna, Italy (Dr. E. Gatti)
  • Provenance Research and Forest Tree Breeding, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics (Dr. M. Liesebach)
  • Plant Ecology, FU Berlin (PD Dr. M. Forstreuter)
  • Competence Center Timber, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics (Dr. B. Degen)
  • Molecular Plant Genetics, University of Hamburg (Dr. D. Becker + Prof. Dr. J. Kehr)
  • Plant Genetics, Albert-Ludwig-University Freiburg (PD Dr. R. Welsch)
  • Centre for Plant Genome Engineering, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (Dr. G. Hensel)

Publications

  1. 0

    Riefler M, Brügmann T, Fladung M, Schmülling T (2022) A constitutively active cytokinin receptor variant increases cambial activity and stem growth in poplar. Int J Mol Sci 23:8321, DOI:10.3390/ijms23158321

    https://literatur.thuenen.de/digbib_extern/dn065121.pdf

  2. 1

    Zahn V, Sievers A-J, Fladung M, Brügmann T (2022) A reliable in vitro culture system for Fagus sylvatica - first steps to expend the scope of genome editing in forest trees to beech. In: Plant Sciences for a Sustainable Future : Botanik-Tagung, International Conference of the German Society for Plant Sciences, 2022 Bonn, 28 August - 01 September ; Programme. Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, p 249

  3. 2

    Zahn V, Brügmann T, Fladung M (2022) Combining bacterial and viral elements for efficient gene targeting in poplar. In: Plant Sciences for a Sustainable Future : Botanik-Tagung, International Conference of the German Society for Plant Sciences, 2022 Bonn, 28 August - 01 September ; Programme. Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, p 85

  4. 3

    Zahn V, Fladung M, Brügmann T (2022) Combining bacterial and viral elements for efficient gene targeting in poplar. In: COST Action CA18111 "Genome Editing in Plants" : Book of Abstracts ; 3rd PlantEd Conference, 5 - 7 September 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany. p 24

  5. 4

    Brügmann T, Zebbedies S, Zahn V, Fladung M (2022) Diverse mutation patterns include large deletions in a CRISPR/nCas9 double nicking approach poplar. In: COST Action CA18111 "Genome Editing in Plants" : Book of Abstracts ; 3rd PlantEd Conference, 5 - 7 September 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany. p 48

  6. 5

    Brügmann T, Zebbedies S, Zahn V, Fladung M (2022) Diverse mutation patterns include large deletions in a CRISPR/nCas9 double nicking approach poplar. In: Plant Sciences for a Sustainable Future : Botanik-Tagung, International Conference of the German Society for Plant Sciences, 2022 Bonn, 28 August - 01 September ; Programme. Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, p 248

  7. 6

    Brügmann T, Fladung M, Schröder H (2022) Flexible DNA isolation procedure for different tree species as a convenient lab routine. Silvae Genetica 71:20-30, DOI:10.2478/sg-2022-0003

    https://literatur.thuenen.de/digbib_extern/dn065030.pdf

  8. 7

    Fendel A, Fladung M, Brügmann T (2022) Improvement of drought stress tolerance in poplars (Populus) by modification of candidate genes. In: COST Action CA18111 "Genome Editing in Plants" : Book of Abstracts ; 3rd PlantEd Conference, 5 - 7 September 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany. p 35

  9. 8

    Fendel A, Fladung M, Brügmann T (2022) Improvement of drought stress tolerance in poplars (Populus) by modification of candidate genes. In: Plant Sciences for a Sustainable Future : Botanik-Tagung, International Conference of the German Society for Plant Sciences, 2022 Bonn, 28 August - 01 September ; Programme. Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, p 104

  10. 9

    Shrestha A, Fendel A, Nguyen TH, Adebabay A, Kullik AS, Benndorf J, Leon J, Naz AA (2022) Natural diversity uncovers P5CS1 regulation and its role in drought stress tolerance and yield sustainability in barley. Plant Cell Environ 45(12):3523-3536, DOI:10.1111/pce.14445

    https://literatur.thuenen.de/digbib_extern/dn065457.pdf

  11. 10

    Brügmann T, Zahn V, Fendel A, Zebbedies S, Sievers A-J, Becker D, Fladung M (2022) Neue biotechnologische Methoden für Gehölze. In: Liesebach M, Tröber U (eds) 7. Tagung der Sektion Forstgenetik/Forstpflanzenzüchtung : "Beiträge von Forstpflanzenzüchtung und Forstgenetik für den Wald von Morgen" ; Ahrensburg, 12. bis 14. September 2022, Abstract-Band und Exkursionsführer. p 11

  12. 11

    Brügmann T, Biricolti S, Becker D, Fladung M (2022) On track towards DNA-free genome editing. In: COST Action CA18111 "Genome Editing in Plants" : Book of Abstracts ; 3rd PlantEd Conference, 5 - 7 September 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany. p 49

  13. 12

    Brügmann T, Deecke K, Fladung M (2019) Evaluating the efficiency of gRNAs in CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing in poplars. Int J Mol Sci 20(15):3623, DOI:10.3390/ijms20153623

    https://literatur.thuenen.de/digbib_extern/dn061163.pdf

  14. 13

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2019) Genom-Editierung in Bäumen. AFZ Der Wald 74(5):16-18

    https://literatur.thuenen.de/digbib_extern/dn060910.pdf

  15. 14

    Brügmann T, Wetzel H, Hettrich K, Smeds A, Willför S, Kersten B, Fladung M (2019) Knockdown of PCBER1, a gene of neolignan biosynthesis, resulted in increased poplar growth. Planta 249(2):515-525, DOI:10.1007/s00425-018-3021-8

  16. 15

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2019) Overexpression of both flowering time genes AtSOC1 and SaFUL revealed huge influence onto plant habitus in poplar. Tree Genetics Genomes 15:20, DOI:10.1007/s11295-019-1326-9

  17. 16

    Brügmann T, Polak O, Deecke K, Nietsch J, Fladung M (2019) Poplar transformation. Meth Mol Biol 1864:165-177

  18. 17

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2016) Flowering time genes influence biomass production in poplars. In: Hensel G (ed) Annual meeting : new breeding technologies in times of politically enforces research prohibition ; German Society of Plant Biotechnology e.V. ; book of abstracts ; Gatersleben, 02.-04.05.2016. Gatersleben: Gesellschaft für Pflanzenbiotechnologie, p 23

  19. 18

    Brügmann T, Polak O, Fladung M (2015) Development and use of novel gene technologies to increase biomass yield in the woody perennial Populus spec. (PopMass) : project A - modification of genes expressed in xylem and flower. In: Conference documents Plant 2040 Status Seminar, March 4 - 6, 2015 in Potsdam. pp 67-68

  20. 19

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2015) Genetic approaches to increase biomass yield in the woody perennial Populus. In: Vettori C, Vendramin GG, Paffetti D, Travaglini D (eds) IUFRO Tree Biotechnology 2015 Conference : "Forests: the importance to the planet and society" ; 8-12 June 2015, Florence, Italy ; Proceedings. Florenz: IUFRO, pp 507-509

  21. 20

    Schröder H, Brügmann T, Fladung M (2015) Nuclear and chloroplast SNP markers support successful poplar breeding. In: Vettori C, Vendramin GG, Paffetti D, Travaglini D (eds) IUFRO Tree Biotechnology 2015 Conference : "Forests: the importance to the planet and society" ; 8-12 June 2015, Florence, Italy ; Proceedings. Florenz: IUFRO, pp 295-296

  22. 21

    Hönicka H, Fladung M, Lehnhardt D, Brügmann T (2013) Pleiotropic effects of "flowering" genes in transgenic poplar. In: SPP1530 Workshop: Pleiotropic effects of flowering time genes and impact on adaptation and speciation, January 21-23,2013, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Köln. p 13

  23. 22

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2013) Potentials and limitations of the cross-species transfer of nuclear microsatellite marker in six species belonging to three sections of the genus PopulusL.. Tree Genetics Genomes 9(6):1413-1421, DOI:10.1007/s11295-013-0647-3

  24. 23

    Brügmann T (2011) Entwicklung molekularer Marker zur genetischen Charakterisierung von Genotypen verschiedener Arten der Gattung Populus L.. Hamburg: Universität, 134 p, Hamburg, Univ, Fachber Biologie, Masterarbeit, 2011

  25. 24

    Brügmann T (2009) Optimierung von RNA-Extraktion und cDNA-Synthese aus Quercus robur. Hamburg: Univ, 76 p, Hamburg, Univ, Department Biologie, Bachelorarbeit, 2009


    Funding

    The Genetic Technologies Junior Research Group is financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Agency of Renewable Resources (FNR) (funding code 2219NR359).

    The related project "TreeEdit" is part of the Department of Genome Research under project leader PD Dr. Matthias Fladung.

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