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Friedt, Wolfgang

Research Interests

My main research interests are genetic diversity, breeding science and plant breeding including biotechnology, genetics and genomics, focusing on major crop plants such as barley (Hordeum vulgare), bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), sorghum (S. bicolor) and oilseed rape (Brassica napus).

Major research topics include i) the genetic basis of biomass and grain yield and future yield trends in crops (e.g. wheat), ii) genetic basis of heterosis, MS systems and hybrid breeding in winter barley, oilseed rape and sorghum, iii) relevance and importance of the structure and function of root systems for resource efficiency and agronomic performance of crop plants; iv) disease resistance and tolerance against environmental (abiotic) stresses such as drought and cold; v) seed development and major seed compounds (starch, lipids, protein, fibre) in oil- and protein crops.


Curriculum vitae

Since 2013            Emeritus Professor of Agronomy and Plant Breeding

1985-2013            Professor of Plant Breeding, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

1992-93, 98-99     Dean, Faculty for Agriculture & Environment Preservation, University of Giessen

1984                     Habilitation, Genetics, University of Bayreuth, Germany

1983                     Stipend of the Japan. Society for the Promotion of Science, Kyoto Univ., Japan

1979-1985            Lecturer for Plant Genetics, University of Bayreuth, Germany

1978                     Doctorate at the Technical University of München, Germany

1971-1984            Senior Scientist, Institute for Resistance Genetics, BBA, Braunschweig, Germany

1968-71                Higher Studies of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bonn, Germany



Skills/Expertise /Research Keywords

  • Cereals: Wheat (T. aestivum), sorghum (S. bicolor), barley (H. vulgare)
  • Oil plants (Brassica napus, Helianthus annuus, Camelina sativa, Linum sativum a.o.)
  • Renewable resources (biomass, biogas, bioenergy, vegetable oil, biodiesel)
  • Lipid biosynthesis and improvement of oil content and quality
  • Disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance
  • Structure and function of plant root systems
  • Interspecific hybridization and polyploidy
  • Cytogenetics and genome analysis
  • QTL mapping and marker-assisted selection
  • Quantitative genetics (genomic selection)


Grants (selected)

2011-2014 BMELV/GFP: Verbesserung der Resistenz von Winterraps (Brassica napus) gegen den durch Klimawandel geförderten Schadpilz Verticillium longisporum (Joint project)

2011-2014 BMBF/KBBE: CONVIGOUR - Controlling variation in germination and seed vigour in Oilseed rape for optimal quality yield stability (Joint project)

2009-2012 Bio-Energie 2021: Untersuchungen zur Kühletolerenz und Wassernutzungseffizienz bei Sorghum unter Einbeziehung  der genetischen Diversität und züchterische Optimierung der Merkmale (Joint project)

2008-2010 BMELV/GFP: Entwicklung von molekularen Markern für die Züchtung von Hoch-Ölsäure-Winterraps mit Resistenz gegen Verticillium longisporum als Beitrag zur nachhaltigen Rapsölproduktion (Joint project)

2007-2010 DFG: Shifts in plant expression and corresponding phloem sap components during trilateral interaction of barley (Hordeum vulgare), aphid species (Rhopalosiphum padi)  and the aphid-transmitted Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV)


Awards and scholarships

2015 Eminent Scientist Award, International Consultative Group for Research on Rapeseed (GCIRC), Saskatoon, Canada

2010 Innovation Award „Prof. Röbbelen“, Karl Eigen & Dr. h.c. Dietrich Brauer-Foundation, Berlin

2007 Normann-Medal, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Fettwissenschaft (DGF), Göteborg, Sweden

1983 Stipend of the Japan. Society for the Promotion of Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Japan


Selected Publications

  1. Gottwald S, Samans B, Lück S, Friedt W(2012) Jasmonate and ethylene dependent defence gene expression and suppression of fungal virulence factors: Two essential mechanisms of Fusarium head blight resistance in wheat? BMC Genomics 13:369 (DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-369).
  2. Obermeier C, Hossain MA, Snowdon R, Knüfer J, von Tiedemann A, Friedt W (2013) Genetic analysis of phenylpropanoid metabolites associated with resistance against Verticillium longisporum in Brassica napus. Molecular Breeding 31:347–361 (DOI 10.1007/s11032-012-9794-8)
  3. Shiringani A, Friedt W(2011) QTL for fibre-related traits in grain x sweet sorghum as a tool for the enhancement of sorghum as a biomass crop. Theor Appl Genet 123: 999-1011 (DOI 10.1007/s00122-011-1642-4)
  4. Windpassinger S, Friedt W, Frauen M, Snowdon R, Wittkop B (2015) Designing adapted sorghum silage types with an enhanced energy density for biogas generation in temperate Europe" Biomass and Bioenergy (accepted)
  5. Fu Y, Wei D, Dong H, He Y, Cui Y, Mei J, Wan H, Li J, Snowdon R, Friedt W, Li X, Qian W (2015) Comparative quantitative trait loci for silique length and seed weight in Brassica napus. Scientific Reports (accepted)



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Contact information

Dr. Wolfgang Friedt, Prof. em.

Plant Breeding Department

IFZ Research Centre for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition

Justus Liebig University

Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32

35392 Giessen, Germany

Tel: +49 641 99 37468


Room B326