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Claus Krogh Madsen

Tenure Track assistant professor

Claus Krogh Madsen
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In my work, I use a wide range of molecular tools to improve or investigate the small grain cereals (mainly barley and wheat) and their relatives. My main research interests are:

    1)  Domestications processes and the utilization of wild genetic diversity for future crops

Domestication of wild plants was prerequisite the agricultural systems which allowed the first civilizations to flourish and developed to feed the modern world. However, the process as it unfolded became a genetic bottleneck, which left behind a great deal of the natural genetic variation including adaptations for various abiotic stresses such as drought, flood and extreme temperatures. Such traits are much needed, as agriculture globally has to adapt to climate change and at the same time use fertilizers and plant protection responsibly. 

I work to bring this genetic potential to use by various strategies, including gene discovery and characterization, direct introduction ‘cisgenesis’, genetic rewilding (editing crop genes to resemble wild counterparts) and re-domestication (domesticating wild relatives of crop plants by editing key domestication genes). 

    2)  Nutritional quality of cereal grains

Cereal grains underlie approximately 2/3 of the calories consumed by humankind. Either directly or via farm animals. However, cereals are traditionally breed for yield and crop health whereas the potential to improve on the nutrients and anti-nutritional factors of the grains has received comparatively less attention.

I have contributed in this field by finding ways to increase phytase activity in the grains to overcome anti-nutritional phytate. Furthermore, I have worked with enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion and with the amino acid composition of grains.

 

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