Research project Identifying the bottlenecks of the hairy roots technology


From co-cultivation to a platform technology

hairy roots in a petri dish

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General introduction

Ri technology does not yet flow to commercial plant breeding is still limited, despite its economic and environmental benefits. A number of bottlenecks were identified in each of the three major steps of the technology: 1) Induction of hairy roots is strongly genotype-dependent and morphological identification is often not possible; 2) Regeneration efficiency of shoots from hairy roots is uncertain and too low; and 3) Optimal selection criteria for Ri lines suitable for further improvement, easily applicable at company level, are lacking. The aim of this co-cultivation platform is to address these bottlenecks.

Research approach

These 3 aspects will be addressed by using (1) reporter genes, (2) examining the role of the TR-DNA in regeneration, (3) looking for the correlation between Ri genotype and phenotype and then developing a suitable breeding strategy.


The results show that the success of the technique is strongly genotype-dependent; regeneration remains the biggest bottleneck. Once a Ri plant is obtained, it can perfectly be used further in a company's breeding programme. Thus, the transfer of scientific knowledge to the business world has definitely boosted the implementation of the technology.