Wageningen University (WU)

Wageningen University is the only university in the Netherlands focused specifically on agriculture, food and the environment. There is emphasis on the application of knowledge in research and education.

To fully explore the regulatory pathways from genotype to phenotype, Dr Keurentjes has pioneered the concept of ‘Genetical Genomics’ in which the genetic regulation of molecular traits is analysed. By analysing the flow of biological information at different hierarchical levels, such a systems biology approach enables the construction of interconnected networks and predictive models.  This expertise is used in WATBIO to identify the biological relationships between genotype and phenotype in the proposed crop species. These include molecular components of the signal transduction pathways as well as higher orders of regulation. By integrating the various sources of information in predictive modelling, explicitly incorporating genetic and environmental interactions, testable hypotheses are being generated. Redirecting this output to the project partners aids in the design of targeted experiments and as such creates an effective modelling cycle. 

Dr Joost Keurentjes leads the ‘plant quantitative genetics’ research group in the Laboratory of Genetics. His long term research interest is to understand the mechanistic basis of natural variation and how this contributes to evolutionary forces and adaptive properties. To describe and predict biological systems in quantitative statistical models he established a longstanding collaboration with the BIOMETRIS department headed by Dr Fred van Eeuwijk. Biometris is specialised in readily applicable mathematical and statistical research in the field of quantitative genetics.