Lehrstuhl für Pflanzenzüchtung

Control of flowering time in quinoa, building on the model from the close relative, sugar beet (Beta vulgaris).


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a highly nutritious crop, belongs to the genus Chenopodium in the Amaranthaceae family with an estimated genome size of 1.3 Gb. Quinoa is a tetraploid species (2n=4x=36) as a hybrid between two diploid species C. pallidicaule  (2n=16) and C. suecicum (2n=16). It is a native crop of the Anden region of South America and has been grown since 5,000-7,000 years. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) guidelines, quinoa’s production has expanded in recent years due to its nutritious seeds, which comprise higher protein quality and provide a good balance of carbohydrate, vitamins, lipids, fiber and other minerals. As quinoa has the potential to provide nutritious and healthy food for human, it is often referred as the ‘super grain of future.' Sugar beet and Chenopodium album are two relatives well adapted to European climates.

Quinoa is a short day plant. Therefore, cultivation in central and northern Europe requires adaptation to long day conditions. In this project, we aim to understand the genetic mechanism of flowering time regulation in quinoa as well as its response to different day length to adapt its flowering time to long day conditions.


  • Identification of quinoa flowering time candidate genes by comparative sequence analysis with major flowering time genes from Arabidopsis and sugar beet.
  • Co-localization of candidate genes with flowering time QTL.
  • Expression analysis to study the transcriptional activities of flowering time candidate genes.
  • Identify allelic variation affecting flowering time in quinoa by performing haplotype analyses for flowering time genes.
  • Selecting Quinoa genotypes suitable for cultivation under northern German climate conditions


Quinoa is closely related to sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) since it also belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. In sugar beet, two paralogs of the Arabidopsis FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) gene have been identified acting antagonistically to regulate flowering. In quinoa, we have identified three paralogs for BvFT1 and two paralogs for BvFT2. Prospective functional analysis of quinoa FT will help to determine the function of these genes in flowering time regulation in quinoa.

Research team:

Dr. Nazgol Emrani
Dilan Sarange
Prof. Dr. Christian Jung
Verena Kowalewski
Kerstin Wulbrandt
Monika Bruisch

Scientific Partner:

Prof. Dr. Mark Tester, Dr. David Jarvis, Dr. Sandra Schmöckel (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, KAUST).

Financial Support:

Funding is provided by the KAUST`s internal competitive research program.


Jarvis, D.E., Y.S. Ho, D.J. Lightfoot, S.M. Schmockel, B. Li, T.J. Borm, H. Ohyanagi, K. Mineta, C.T. Michell, N. Saber, N.M. Kharbatia, R.R. Rupper, A.R. Sharp, N. Dally, B.A. Boughton, Y.H. Woo, G. Gao, E.G. Schijlen, X. Guo, A.A. Momin, S. Negrao, S. Al-Babili, C. Gehring, U. Roessner, C. Jung, K. Murphy, S.T. Arold, T. Gojobori, C.G. Linden, E.N. van Loo, E.N. Jellen, P.J. Maughan, and M. Tester, 2017: The genome of Chenopodium quinoa. Nature 542, 307-312.

Last revision: 13.12.17          Responsible for this webpage: Dr. Nazgol Emrani