Trait 2 : Flower Development

Proper flower development in crop plants will condition fruit production and as a consequence crop yield. How the gender of a flower or plant is determined is an important question in plant-developmental biology.

Understanding this process also has practical applications, as the gender of a flower or a plant often limits how the plant is bred and cultivated.
Therefore, the use of sex determination mechanisms as biotechnology tools is an emerging field in crop improvement. For instance, F1 hybrid production requires controlled pollination that involves flowers without functional pollen while maintaining female fertility.
So sex determination systems leading to unisexual flowers are attractive tools to facilitate production of F1 hybrid seeds.

The 3P Project will further our knowledge on the regulation of sex determinism and organ numbers in flowers, using advanced phenotyping and high throughput genotyping.

Using the knowledge gained on specific regulatory networks controlling these traits in model plants, we will analyse their potential conservation in crop species where these flowering traits have a vaste innovation potential.

Sex determination in melon : Distribution of unisexual and hermaphrodite flowers in melon plants of different sexual morphs and their corresponding genotypes.