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RESEARCH

RESEARCH

Our company, Pheno Geno Roses, has been involved from the very start, nine years ago, in several rose research projects. Most of these projects are located in the Netherlands, since our company’s’ Dutch branch is located there as well. However, a part of the practical testing is conducted on the trial fields in Serbia such as our winter hardiness tests which are just a small part of our commercial breeding program.

Our vision is to become a leader in the application of modern techniques, combining them with the art of breeding, so we could fashion roses by everyone’s liking. Bringing satisfaction to our customers as well as listening to their needs is something we’ve made a commitment to.

 

MAIN RESEARCH PROJECTS:

 

1. HIGH PERFORMANCE ROSES: A NEW IMPULSE FOR GARDEN ROSES BY MOLECULAR MARKER TECHNOLOGY (2009 - 2013)

 

Pheno Geno Roses completed a 4 years TTI project, co-financed by 2 trading companies involved in the trade of garden roses: Frank Coenders Rozen and the Regional Cooperative of Rose Growers.

To date, breeding in garden roses relies mostly on classical breeding. The aim of this project was to enable marker-assisted breeding (MAB) in this auto-tetraploid crop, starting with two essential traits for the booming Central- and Eastern-European markets: winter hardiness and recurrent flowering. Sufficient levels of these traits are known to exist in Canadian cultivars and wild East European germplasm, while winter hardiness is insufficient in Western European cultivars.

As the current rose breeding is empiric and little is known on garden rose genetics, the aim of the Hyper-rose project was to provide insight into garden rose diversity and differentiation, develop new methods for quantification of allele dosage in tetraploid cultivars, and develop new strategies for generating highly polymorphic SSR markers from transcriptomic sequences. Parallel, the mapping population was made by crossing European and Canadian cultivars and their progeny was exposed to low temperature under controlled (cold chambers) and uncontrolled (trial field) conditions.

All these findings enabled creation of a high-density genetic map using SSR and SNP markers and detecting QTLs for winter hardiness. As a final outcome, a set of markers enable to distinguish susceptible from for winter hardy cultivars in an early stage (few set of leaves) were proposed, which will help avoid long trial field testing (which depends on the climate) and shorten the breeding period.

These results will give a competitive advantage in the breeding of new cultivars, evident from the larger market share in segments with higher prices for involved companies.

This project was conducted at WUR-Plant Breeding, represented by dr Rene Smulders and dr Paul Arens, as well as Pheno Geno’s R&D Manager Mirjana Vukosavljev Olujić who completed her PhD thesis on this project.

 

2.  POLYPLOID PROJECT 2: A GENETIC ANALYSIS PIPELINE FOR POLYPLOID CROPS (START 2013)

 

Pheno Geno Roses is a small partner in this large project with Wageningen UR Plant Breeding and 10 breeding companies of polyploid crops in the Netherlands.

In diploid crops we see a large development of marker-assisted breeding. In polyploid crops we see much more difficulties in the inheritance of traits. In this project we aim to develop both methods and software for genetic analysis of polyploidy crops. For our company it would be very interesting to see the similarities and differences between our roses, cut-roses and other polyploid crops.

 

3.  IMPROVING GERMINATION OF SEEDS FROM HYBRID ROSE VARIETIES

 

Aim of this study was to provide a better understanding of the causes of low seed germination of roses. Rose seeds are subject to two types of seed dormancy (physical and physiological) due to the stony endocarp and physiological barriers within the seed, which inhibit germination. In addition, low seed quality can be a major cause of low germination. In order to improve rose seed germination, dormancy has to be broken, while sustaining a high seed quality. Therefore, five main experiments were performed focusing on sustaining a high seed quality and breaking seed dormancy of cultivated roses. Part of this research was conducted at HAS Den Bosch in the Netherlands, with dr Mark, v.d. Wouw and ir. Jasper den Besten. Other persons were involved in this research as well.

 

4.   USE OF ROSE-HIPS AND PETALS AS A FOOD PRODUCT (START 2015)

 

In 2015 Pheno Geno Roses had started a food project in cooperation with Frank Coenders, a rose grower in the Netherlands. The aim of this study is to identify rose cultivars of which the petals or hips are suitable for eating.

Eating roses is actually very healthy, because they contain a lot of antioxidants. This is especially true for the hips, which not only contain a large amount of antioxidants, but also have a high concentration of vitamin C. Additionally, composition of rose petals (vitamins, antioxidants, phenols, carotenoids, etc.) candidates them as a new potential source of food. Till now rose petals are used in wine and jam production, while their usage for fresh salads is not considered widely. At the moment, mainly wild rose cultivars are used for food. That is a trend we are hoping to change by highlighting the importance of domesticated cultivars. During this large scale study around 340 cultivars in total will be tested.

The aim of this project is to detect which rose cultivars are the most valuable for the nutrition (from biochemical aspect), which are the most appropriate for human intake (taste characteristics), to detect which parents are good donors of characteristics related to nutrition, and to detect tools for MAB (QTLs).

To be a good rose for the food industry the flowers and hips should not only have a nice taste, but should also have a good nutritional value, look good and have a nice fragrance suitable for food.

During the study we will map all these different traits. A study is currently being conducted that will provide us the insight in how the flowers and hips look, taste, smell and grow. Next to these phenotypic values, attention must be given to the nutritional value of the flowers and hips. We are currently looking at the content of malic acid, citric acid, vitamin C, total antioxidants and sugars. In addition to these measurements, we will also look at the DNA to find genes for these traits. These genes can be used in marker assisted breeding.

Using the results following this study, we can open new market possibilities. Based on the results, we can start breeding new cultivars which are perfectly suited for the use as a food ingredient. Since this kind of large scale study has never been previously performed and no other rose breeder is currently breeding for the food industry, this gives us some unique possibilities.

 

5.   DATA BASE AND BREEDING SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

 

The key features of this project are focused on building a database with breeding information, as well as providing useful output which increases the efficiency of breeding. It covers the most important breeding projects (from pollination to selection of commercial varieties) and has a goal to store breeding data, to use algorithms for planning specific projects and to provide an overview of breeding results in different reports.