startpage genetics


startpage genetics
Image: Florian Rümpler

Department of Genetics ("Struktureinheit Genetik")

Welcome to the Department of Genetics ("Struktureinheit Genetik")


HeadProf. Dr. Günter Theißen
Secretary: Sabine Schein

The Department conducts research in and teaches different aspects of the subject Genetics. Our research work focuses on the mechanisms of gene regulation in plants and fungi.

The Department consists of two research groups

The lab of Prof. Günter Theißen

We investigate the structure, function and evolution of transcription factors, concentrating on proteins encoded by MADS-box genes. Our interests range from the relationship between structure and function on the molecular level via the mechanisms underlying gene regulation (including the importance of microRNAs) to the role of transcription factors in the evolution of gene regulatory networks and developmental processes. A major focus of our work is on elucidating the role of MADS-box genes in the evolution of flowers and fruits and in the origin of biodiversity. Our model systems comprise diverse land plants ranging from mosses to flowering plants, and includes important crop plants such as cabbage, rice, maize, tulips and spruce as well as wild plants (e.g. field pepperweed) and typical model organisms (thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana). To achieve our goals we use tools from genetics, molecular biology, biophysics and bioinformatics.

The lab of Prof. Jan Schirawski

We seek to understand how biotrophic fungal pathogens of plants manage to recognize, differentiate, control, supress the host plant's immunity mechanisms, multiply and spread in the plant tissue, identify the suitable tissue and timepoint for spore production and change the morphology of the host plant. To reach these goals, we use as model organism the head smut fungus Sporisorium reilianum and its host plants maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). We use among others classical and modern methods of genetic analysis, fluorescence microscopy, genome comparison, transcriptome analysis, molecular biology, biochemistry as well as a motivated team.

Former research groups

Link to former research groups