Arabidopsis & Brassica
Sjef Smeekens Dick Vreugdenhil
Arabidopsis (Thale cress) is actually a tiny weed. However, for research purposes, Arabidopsis offers three major advangtages over regular crops. Firstly, it has a very short, six-week, life cycle from seed-to-seed. Secondly, being small entails that using large numbers of plants is both physically and economically feasible. Finally and most importantly, Arabidopsis has the smallest known genome of all higher plants which has also now been fully sequenced.
The CBSG2012 Arabidopsis research programme is dedicated to exploiting the advantages of this plant to broaden our knowledge on key physiological and developmental processes of importance to crop plants. This work is therefore also fully integrated into our research programme on Brassica. Brassica is the genus of important vegetable crops such as brocolli, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower etc as well as oil crops such as Canola and oil seed rape. Our integrated Arabidopsis / Brassica programme is carried out in collaboration with the Plant Biotechnology Institute and Genome Canada.